Ombudsman refers oath blunder to Constitutional Court

Ombudsman refers oath blunder to Constitutional Court

Members of the Ombudsman meet at their office in Bangkok on Tuesday to consider complaints about the cabinet's swearing-in. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Members of the Ombudsman meet at their office in Bangkok on Tuesday to consider complaints about the cabinet's swearing-in. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The Ombudsman resolved on Tuesday to forward a complaint about the failure of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his cabinet ministers to recite the complete oath of office to the Constitutional Court.

Secretary-general Raksagecha Chaechai said the decision was in response to a complaint from Panupong Churak, a Ramkhamhaeng University student, who wrote that the incomplete oath affected his rights under section 213 of the constitution.

This section provides for a complaint by someone who believes their constitutional rights were violated, Mr Racksagecha said.

Mr Panupong said in his complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman on Aug 20 that the incomplete oath could lead to the nullification of the cabinet's formation and the government's policy statement, and policy implementation, and thus affect the government's ability to work for the people's benefit.

The Ombudsman was of the view that failure to recite the complete oath violated the constitution and affected the complainant's rights, Mr Raksagecha said.

The Ombudsman had dismissed similar complaints filed on Aug 5 by activists Srisuwan Janya and Ai Phetthong because their complaints focused on the actual recitation of the oath, which the Ombudsman considered an action that did not concern a law.

The complaints relate to the cabinet's swearing-in ceremony before His Majesty the King on July 16.

Gen Prayut did not vocalise the last sentence of the oath required by the constitution. Section 161 of the 2017 constitution prescribes: "Before assuming duties, cabinet ministers must swear an oath to His Majesty the King as follows:

"I (name of minister) swear I will be loyal to His Majesty and perform my duties honestly for the benefit of the country and the people. I will also uphold and comply with the constitution of the kingdom in every aspect."

Prime Minister Prayut again declined to comment on the issue. On Tuesday he led cabinet ministers to receive a written message from His Majesty in response to their July 16 oath.

The ceremony was at Government House in the morning. Gen Prayut refused to say if His Majesty the King's message had any effect on the status of his cabinet.


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