The High Court will tomorrow start hearing the Independent Group’s challenge into the extension of the life of Parliament until next year.
SBMOnline understands that the case is scheduled for 1pm.
The constitutional amendment was passed in September last year that subsequently resulted in the deferral of the dissolution of parliament by seven months. Initially, the current house’s life should have been ended in May this year with elections taking place four months after. However, the amendment will now see election likely to take place in April next year. The government’s biggest argument was the delay was to allow for them to prepare for the Pacific Games, which is taking place in November 19 to 2nd December this year.
But Kuku in his submission has raised several questions about the constitutionality of the process that he wanted the court to answer.
He named the Speaker of Parliament Pattenson Oti as the first defendant, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare as the second defendant and His Excellency the Governor General as the third defendant.
There are several issues that he raised but key amongst them is whether or not two separate readings required of Parliament to alter a provision of the constitution under Section 61 (3) of the constitution requires two separate readings of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2022, can take place at the Third Reading?
And, whether or not the act of final voting required of Parliament under Section 61 (3) of the constitution for the valid and lawful passage of the Constitution (Amendment Bill 2022) can only take place at the Third Reading?
Kuku in his submission argued that the passage of the Constitutional Amendment Act 2022 by Parliament in September last year contravened Section 61 (3) of the constitution and is therefore unconstitutional, invalid and of no effect.
Parliament dissolved on May 15, 2023 in accordance with Section 73 (3) of the constitution and; all seats in the National Parliament are vacant as of May 15, 2023 pursuant to Section 50 (a) of the constitution.
Furthermore he claimed that all proceedings by Parliament after May 15, 2023 including the passage of any bills and motions are null and void.
The court is expected to hear defence from the defendants as the court begins hearing into the case which is drawing huge interest from the public.
Business as usual in Honiara: Commissioner Mangau
Meanwhile the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) wishes to advise the public especially in Honiara that its “business as usual,” as mention of the High Court Civil Case on Constitutional Amendment Bill 2022 (CAB 2022) will be heard in the High Court tomorrow (27 July 2023).
RSIPF Commissioner Mr. Mostyn Mangau says, “Mentioning a matter before court is just a normal court process, whereby both parties to the case present papers relating to the matter before the court. It is not the process to determine a court result or decision regarding the matter.
Mangau says, “We do not anticipate any problems and would like to encourage businesses, schools, clinics and other essential services to continue as normal. Be assured that the RSIPF will be closely monitoring the situation and should anything arise, your police is ready to deal with it.”
“I call on all good law abiding citizens of Solomon Islands to remain calm and go about their business and lives as usual. I appeal to our good citizens, especially in Honiara to respect the rule of law, and to refrain from speculating false rumours to the public through social media platforms, as that may create fear and panic to citizens.
“Refrain from unlawful activities. Unlawful activities such as Violence will only destroy our families, our communities and our country. Let us embrace peace in our hearts, in our families, in our communities and in our country,” says Commissioner Mangau.
RSIPF urges members of the public to pass on any information about anyone planning to disturb the peace and rule of law in our country. You can contact your nearest police station or call the Police National Centre on phone 23666 or the toll free 999.