Court accepts petition, no injunction

The Constitution Court has accepted for consideration a petition filed by a senator against a bill to amend the charter, but stopped short of issuing an injunction stopping the joint sitting of parliament from voting on the first reading of the legislation.

  • Published: 3/04/2013 at 05:45 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

The petition, filed by Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn, asked the Consititution Court to issue an injunction to halt  deliberation of the bill, to order parliament and the 312 MPs and senators who support it to abandon their move to amend Sections 68 and 237 of the constitution, and to order the dissolution of the political parties whose MPs supported the bill.

The petition said the bill seeks to amend Section 68 with an intention to deprive the Thai people of the right to directly submit a complaint to the Constitution Court on seeing any move deemed subversive to the constitution.

It said if Section 68 were amended, the people could ony file a complaint through the Office of the Attorney General, which would vet the petitions. This was was a curtailment of the people's right to safeguard the constitution.

The court found than Senator Somchai's petition met the requirements and conditions stated in paragraph No 2 of Section 68 and the Consitution Court's regulation No 17 (2) regarding procedures for hearing a complaint for consideration to further make a decision.

After considering petition this afternoon, the court voted 3-2 to accept it for further consideration.

However, it stopped short of issuing an injunction to halt the deliberation of the bill on the grounds that there was  no urgent need to do so.

The court ordered the petitioner to make 312 copies of the petition. The copies would be sent to the 312 lawmakers who backed the charter amendment bill. The MPs and senators who supported the bill are required to submit their defence statements to the court within 15 days, otherwise they would be regarded as ignoring the right to defend themselves.

The decision made by the court on Wednesday means parliament can proceed with the vote on the bills in the first reading, scheduled for Wednesday night, after three days of debate.

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