A CONSTITUTIONAL motion filed in the High Court by the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) challenging the passage of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2014 has been dismissed with the court saying that it “must never trespass unto the legislature’s domain.”
The ILP, led by political leader Lyndira Oudit and chairman Jack Warner, has announced that the ruling will be appealed later this week.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, who represented the Government in the matter in his first case since being appointed Senior Counsel in 2011, said he was happy over the decision and noted the dismissal was “on the grounds that it was premature and hence an abuse of the court’s process.”
Ramlogan noted that the judge — High Court Justice Frank Seepersad — had underscored the need for mutual respect between the Judiciary and the Parliament.
“Because without that kind of mutual respect the doctrine of separation of powers will not in fact work and it could lead to discord and disharmony in the apparatus of the State,” Ramlogan added.
He was speaking yesterday at a media conference at the Office of the Attorney General, Port-of-Spain.
“The court, though cognisant of the expressed concerns that have been made in relation to the ‘runoff’ provisions of the Bill, just never arbitrarily trespass unto the legislature’s domain. Discontent, discord and disenchantment are normal within a thriving democracy as is need to be receptive to constitutional amendments that are legitimately effected in the nation’s best interest. Ultimately, it is always open to the electorate to ratify or reject the acts, behaviour and decisions of their elected representatives, when general elections are held,” the judgment read.
Ramlogan said the constitutional motion was “very novel and unprecedented” as it attempted to challenge the constitutional validity of a Bill while still under Parliament scrutiny and not yet assented to by the President.
Rekha Ramjit, Carol Ann Bernard and Janet Sebastien appeared for the claimants while Ramlogan, Jagdeo Singh, Kelvin Ramkissoon, Zelicia Haynes-Soo Hon and Tamara Maharajh appeared for the State.
The procedural matter involving Stephen Mitchell and Dayne Francois versus the Government of TT was heard yesterday morning before Seepersad. The ILP in a media release yesterday noted that the judge “dismissed the application of the two claimants basically on the ground that their application is premature and should await the outcome of the final deliberations of the Bill in the Parliament.”….READ MORE