Thursday, October 09, 2008

Brij Lal's view

from w
Some clever minds like Brij Lal ought to be able to think clearly on the matter of yesterday's court case ruling by the three judges.
From the Fiji Sun
It could create havoc, says Lal


The judgment has the potential to wreak havoc on the operation of parliamentary democracy and on the supremacy of parliament, says academic and co-author of the 1997 Constitution Dr Brij Lal.
“It is a prescription for political paralysis,” he said.

“The first is whether an unelected head of state should have the wide ranging reserve powers the court says he in fact has. “The judgment recognises a real rival centre of power whereas in the Westminster system of democracy, the head of state acts on the advice on the elected government of the day. In the hands of an unscrupulous head of state, Fiji runs the risk of becoming a presidential dictatorship.

“The whole thrust of constitutional developments since the 18th century has been to rein in the power of the sovereign in favour of the power of the people, so the court’s reading of the history of constitutional evolution comes as a surprise.”

He said the court’s ruling recognised the President’s power to authorise a whole range of activities.

“He will act in his own deliberate judgment to decide when the conditions are appropriate to hold elections; he will decide what ‘fair and free’ conditions will be. The judgment has not made a declaration on the legality or illegality of the coup itself, but it has certainly given developments since December 5, 2006 the cloak of legality.

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