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Dissolve court, Nitirat demands

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A group of Thammasat University's law lecturers demanded the dissolution of the Constitution Court Sunday. 

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Note: This is a very important issue that is getting much coverage in the local media, both Thai and English. It is worth spending some time on. You will be able to use what you learn on future stories.

Worachet Pakeerut, a law lecturer and leader of the Nitirat Group, speaks at Thammasat University Sunday, demanding an end to the Constitution Court following its verdict on the charter amendment bid on Friday. PATIPAT JANTHONG

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Dissolve court, Nitirat demands

Law lecturers say charter body abused authority

Manop Thip-Osod

A group of Thammasat University's law lecturers demanded the dissolution of the Constitution Court Sunday.

The lecturers accused the court of abusing its authority and intervening in the work of the legislative branch by issuing a ruling last week on the government's bid to amend the constitution.

Last Friday, the court dismissed complaints that attempts to change Section 291 of the present constitution would harm the country's system of constitutional monarchy.

It stated that an amendment of the present charter should undergo a public referendum because the present constitution had been approved via a similar referendum.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, the Nitirat Group of lecturers – Worachet Pakeerut, Janjira Iemmayura and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul –  called for a new panel of judges to be formed to replace the Constitution Court.

Mr Piyabutr said the court's ruling was tantamount to staging a "coup".

Ms Janjira said that by ruling that it had the authority to accept complaints against constitutional amendments directly from petitioners, the court had expanded its authority beyond its constitutional scope.

The court's ruling interfered with parliament's power to amend the constitution and undermined democracy as the parliament is elected by the people, she said.

Mr Piyabutr recommended that a panel of judges be established to protect the constitutional system.

He said the panel should comprise of eight judges, to be appointed by the HM the King in accordance with the recommendation of the parliament president.

The house should elect three judges proposed by the House Speaker; the senate should elect two judges proposed by the Senate Speaker and the cabinet should elect three judges proposed by the prime minister, Mr Piyabutr said.

Mr Worachet said he disagreed with the court's ruling that the constitution could only be amended section by section and could not be completely rewritten.

He said it was difficult to change the constitution by individual sections because amending one section would affect other sections.

He said it was reasonable to rewrite a whole new charter instead.

Mr Worachet said he also disagreed with the court's ruling requiring a referendum before a charter change.

Under the current amendment bill, a constitution drafting assembly (CDA) would be formed to write a new charter and there would be a referendum afterwards on the proposed draft.

If there was a referendum before the amendment, the people would not have a new charter draft to compare with the present constitution before deciding on whether they approve of the changes.

It would cost the state more money if it had to arrange another referendum after the new charter draft was written by the CDA.

Mr Worachet said parliament might proceed with the third reading of the bill to change Section 291 right away as the court had not prohibited the process in its ruling.

He said the court did not have the authority to rule on the constitutional amendment effort, and its ruling last Friday was merely an opinion that was not binding on others.

Mr Worachet called for the dissolution of the court and suggested that Section 68 of the constitution also be amended to prevent judges from obstructing any efforts to amend the charter.

You can read the full story, including the response from the Democrat party, here: http://bit.ly/OHRxsV

issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น
coverage – the reporting of news and sport in newspapers and on the radio and television การรายงานข่าว
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about  ท้องถิ่น
media – newspapers, television, radio, etc. สื่อ
lecturer – a teacher at a university or college อาจารย์ผู้บรรยาย
demand – to ask for something very firmly เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ
Constitution Court – the court that decides whether or not laws follow the constitution ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ
verdict – a decision by a court of law คำพิพากษา
charter – a constitution รัฐธรรมนูญ
amendment – a change made to a law or agreement, in this case, to the constitution การแก้ไขกฎหมาย ในที่นี้หมายถึงการแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญ
bid – an attempt to do something ความพยายาม
dissolve – (of a group, organisation, etc.) toended ยุบ
abuse authority – to use of power in a bad, dishonest or unlawful way ใช้อำนาจในทางที่ผิด
intervene – to become involved in a situation in order to try to stop or change it  แทรกแซง
legislative branch – the part of government responsible for creating new laws สภานิติบัญญัติ
issue – to officially announce or give out  ออก, ออกประกาศ, ออกคำสั่ง
ruling – a decision by a court of law คำตัดสิน คำชี้ขาด
dismiss a complaint – (of a court of law) to decide that the charges made against a person or organisation are not correct or proper procedures have not been followed and the case should not be taken to court ยกฟ้อง
constitutional monarchy – a system in which a country is governed by a king or queen whose are limited to those given under the constitution and laws of the country ระบอบประชาธิปไตยที่มีพระมหากษัตริย์เป็นประมุข
undergo –to experience something, especially a change or something unpleasant ประสบ, ผ่านประสบการณ
referendum – an occasion when everyone in a country can vote to make a decision about one particular subject ประชามติ
approve – to give official permission อนุมัต
via – through  ผ่าน
address – to speak publicly to a group of people  กล่าวปราศรัย
press conference – an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it การแถลงข่าว
panel – a group of people who make decisions or judgments คณะกรรมการ
replace – to put a new thing in the place of something old เลิกใช้และนำสิ่งใหม่มาใช้แทน
tantamount to – tantamount to being almost the same or having the same effect as, usually something bad เท่ากัน
stage a coup – to forcefully seize power ใช้กำลังยึดอำนาจและเปลี่ยนแปลงรัฐบาล
authority – power อำนาจ
petitioner – a person who submits a petition (an official document in which you ask a court to take legal action คำร้องต่อศาล)
expand – to make or become larger ขยาย เพิ่ม
constitutional scope – something that you are legally allowed to do   อำนาจตามรัฐธรรมนูญ
interfere – to deliberately become involved in a situation and try to influence the way that it develops, although you have no right to do this  แทรกแซง
undermine – to make something or someone become gradually less effective or successful ทำให้อ่อนลง,ทำลายทีละน้อย,ทำลายอย่างลับ
recommend – to advise someone that they should do something  แนะนำ
establish – to start a company, organisation, fund, etc. that will likely continue for a long time สถาปนา, ก่อตั้ง, จัดตั้ง
comprise – to consist or be made up of two or more things ประกอบด้วย
appoint – to choose someone officially for a job or responsibility แต่งตั้ง,ตั้งให้เป็น
in accordance with – following a rule, system or agreement; also in line with and consistent with สอดคล้องกับ
propose – to suggest for a group to consider เสนอ
House Speaker – the person who is in charge of most of the activities of the House of Representatives ประธานสภาผู้แทนราษฎร
Senate Speaker – the Senate president; the person who is in charge of political debates in the Senate ประธานวุฒิสภา
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
individual – relating to or involving a single, separate person or thing
current – of the present time ปัจจุบัน
draft – to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted ร่าง
assembly – a group of people who have been elected or chosen in order to discuss issues and make decisions สภา, สมัชชา
proceed – to continue as planned ดำเนินการ
prohibit – to not allow; to ban ห้าม
merely – used for emphasising that something is small or unimportant เพียงเท่านั้น
(legally) binding – required by law
obstruct – to make it difficult for something to happen or for someone or something to go somewhere ขวางทาง

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