Court refuses to grant interim orders

National

By DEMAS TIEN
The Supreme Court has refused to grant interim orders sought by incumbent Kandep MP and Opposition Leader  Don Polye to admit and exclude certain ballot boxes from counting.
Justice Stephen Kassman, presiding as a single Supreme Court judge, was of the view that the electoral commission should proceed with the counting and the declaration.
Justice Kassman said if Polye was aggrieved by the declaration, he could file an election petition at the Court of Disputed Returns.
Polye, through his lawyer John Napu, moved an application yesterday seeking an interim order to allow the counting of ballot papers from two ballot boxes from the Kanian and Kunduli rest houses which were refused by the returning officer at the counting venue.
He also asked for an interim order to remove from the tally the number of ballot papers counted from ballot boxes from nine polling venues – Imipiak, Karekara l-Yumbis, Pelyandak, Lumbipak, Waipi, Winja 1, Kambia 1, Mumund 1 and Yuripak – because polling did not take place at these areas.
The application for interim orders was made following a Supreme Court reference under Section 18(1) of the Constitution that Polye filed on July 14 seeking the higher court’s opinion on certain provisions of the Constitution which included Section 50 of the Constitution, which talked about the rights to vote and stand for public office, and Section 153A of the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections, which talked about the exclusion of ballot box from scrutiny by a returning officer.
The court refused to grant the interim orders yesterday to allow the electoral process to continue.
Justice Kassman said if Polye was aggrieved by the declaration, he could file an election petition and further raise his Constitutional questions to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
The substantive case returns to court on Aug 7 for directions.

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