CDC changes judiciary provision in charter

CDC changes judiciary provision in charter

Tanin joins critics of 'non-judge' plan

Women’s rights campaigners hold signs calling for female voices to be heard in the new constitution at the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women yesterday. The group submitted its proposal on how to address gender equality in politics to Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Borwornsak Uwanno via his deputy Nareewan Chintakanond. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Women’s rights campaigners hold signs calling for female voices to be heard in the new constitution at the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women yesterday. The group submitted its proposal on how to address gender equality in politics to Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Borwornsak Uwanno via his deputy Nareewan Chintakanond. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has agreed to change a proposal in the draft charter concerning the composition of the Office of the Judicial Commission (OJC).

The move comes after Privy Councillor and former prime minister Tanin Kraivixien submitted a letter to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to oppose the draft charter provision.

Section 225 of the draft charter requires at least one-third of OJC members to be non-judges.

The OJC's responsibilities include overseeing the appointment and transfers of judges.

Mr Tanin submitted a letter to Gen Prayut on Thursday opposing the charter provision regarding the judiciary.

In the letter, he said he disagreed with the proposed one-thirds requirement that would allow non-judges to join the commission.

Mr Tanin said the charter drafters may have introduced the provision to help keep the courts of justice in touch with the public.

However, this would make it easier for outsiders to interfere with the way the courts are run, and could affect the independence of the judiciary.

The proposal poses a danger to the court system by allowing people who have no knowledge and experience of the judiciary to meddle in the management of court personnel, Mr Tanin wrote.

In fact, in his view, non-judges should not be allowed to serve on the OJC, Mr Tanin added.

"Not a single non-judge should serve on the commission,'' he said.

CDC spokesman Kamnoon Sidhisamarn said the committee has agreed to drop the one-thirds requirement and instead keep the current provision from the 2007 charter which allows only two outsiders, screened and appointed by the Senate, to sit on the commission.

Mr Kamnoon said the CDC will discuss the issue in more detail next month.

CDC member Prasopsuk Boondej yesterday also agreed the proposed one-third requirement needs to be reviewed.

Mr Prasopsuk, a former Appeal Court president, said a number of people in judicial circles have expressed concern about the proposal, which they believe could lead to political interference.

Mr Prasopsuk also admitted the draft charter has too many details and needs to be trimmed down.

Currently, the OJC is made up of 15 members.

Of them, seven come from the Supreme Court, four from the Appeals Court, two from the primary court and the other two are outsiders.

A total of 1,380 judges nationwide recently signed a petition against the one-third requirement and submitted it to the CDC.

They said the proposal would allow politicians to interfere with the OJC. 

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