By KARO JESSE
OPPOSITION Leader Belden Namah has been allowed by the Supreme Court to pursue an application he filed on whether Parliament was constitutionally adjourned on Dec 16, 2020.
A five-man bench, chaired by Justice George Manuhu, yesterday granted his application seeking declarations of standing which he filed through his lawyer Greg Sheppard from Young and Williams.
The court found that he had standing to file the case.
“We are satisfied that Namah (applicant) has rights directly affected by the subject matter of the case before the court,” Justice Manuhu said.
“He is a citizen who has a genuine concern and holds a public office as Leader of Opposition whose concerns relate to the subject matter and we declare that application has standing.”
The application went unopposed by the interveners Speaker of Parliament Job Pomat and Attorney-General Dr Eric Kwa. The panel referred the substantive application to the registry for listings.
When Parliament met on Dec 14 the Opposition submitted a notice of motion against Prime Minister James Marape.
The motion was submitted to the Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Private Members Business.
Namah claimed that the committee did not table the motion in Parliament when it sat on Dec 16, thus, the Speaker failed to conduct the Parliament in a way as to facilitate a valid motion of no confidence.
Namah filed the application on Dec 18 seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the court using certain provisions of the Constitution.
The application raises important constitutional questions relating to proper interpretation and application of the Constitution, and:
- WHETHER the 2021 National Budget passed by the Parliament on Dec 16 was consistent with the Constitution, and,
- WHETHER the decision by Parliament to adjourn to April 20 was consistent with the Constitution, having regard to the fact that the mandatory process commenced by submitting of a Notice of Motion filed against Prime Minister James Marape by the Opposition was not fully completed.
Namah claimed that the decision of Parliament to adjourn to April 20 without deliberately debating and voting upon the motion was inconsistent with the Constitution.