Court to rule on Constitutional cases on Sept 5


30-August-2011

Late in the evening it said it will give its judgment on the cases on September 5 – a day before proposed National Assembly election nominations.

The bench was made up of judges Duraikanu Karunakaran, Niranjit Burhan, Bernardin Renaud and Gustave Dodin – who by earlier consultation with the lawyers: attorney general Rony Govinden, Bernard Georges and Basil Hoareau, “consolidated the cases and heard them together as they are related”.

The court met until late in the evening to hear Mr Hoareau’s arguments because he leaves the country today, but will reconvene this morning to hear aspects of the two cases in which he is not involved.

The cases are one filed by Jane Carpin against the Seychelles National Party’s (SNP) leader Wavel Ramkalawan, in which she is contesting his attempt to remove her as a proportionately elected member of the National Assembly.

In the other case Nicholas Prea and Jean-Francois Ferrari are seeking the July 19 dissolution of the National Assembly declared unconstitutional arguing if Mrs Carpin was not a member of the Assembly, then her vote – which helped secure the ⅔ majority needed – was invalid and the dissolution could therefore not stand.

On behalf of the SNP and Mr Ramkalawan, Mr Georges argued Mrs Carpin could not be freer than before to do what she liked as a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) after the SNP declared she had been “rotated” or replaced, a process he said has been done for many years and not hitherto objected to by an affected MNA.

“Continuing operating as a member would have made her a super MNA if by acting out of line with the party’s principles she gets the chance to do what even the elected MNAs are not free to do,” he argued.

He said by petitioning the court, she remained an MNA in that she could still draw a salary but not do such things as vote.

But Mr Hoareau cited the Constitution which says an MNA ceases to be a member of the Assembly if given a certificate by the speaker unless the person makes an application to the Constitutional Court within 30 days –, which she did – and until the court determines whether that person is still a member or not, he or she still occupies that seat.

While Mr Hoareau argued the SNP has not yet removed Mrs Carpin as a member of the party as it attempted to, Mr Georges wants to know what happens if the courts finds she was no longer a member since she was “rotated”, for example, if her vote for the dissolution of the assembly still counts.

To be removed as a member of the SNP, a person needs to be given a written notice and a chance to be heard, which Mrs Carpin has not yet got, said Mr Hoareau.

He also told the court in her case as a member of the party’s executive committee, her removal needs to be done by a congress of the SNP following the recommendation of the executive.

Mr Georges said the SNP considers her as no longer a member of the Assembly, but seeking to remove her as a party member was “out of an abundance of caution”.

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