By KARO JESSE
THE Supreme Court yesterday ruled that Opposition Leader Belden Namah has standing to pursue a constitutional challenge on the passing of the Budget 2021 and Parliament’s failure to deal with a motion of no confidence he filed on Dec 16.
The five-man bench comprising Justice Allen Kingsley David, Justice Derek Hartshorn, Justice Teresa Berrigan, Justice Ere Kariko and Justice Thomas Anis declared Namah’s standing and adjourned the matter to Tuesday for further directions on substantive hearing.
Namah’s standing was declared after a single judge of Supreme Court refused an application by East Sepik Governor Allan Bird who sought to intervene in the proceedings as the chairman of Parliamentary Plans and Estimates Committee.
The court found that Bird did not have any special interest such that he should be allowed to intervene.
Attorney-General Dr Eric Kwa and Parliament Speaker Job Pomat are the interveners in the proceedings.
The application raised important constitutional questions relating to proper interpretation and application of the Constitution, and:
WHETHER Budget 2021 passed by Parliament on Dec 16 was consistent with the Constitution and the spirit of the Constitution; and,
- WHETHER Parliament’s decision to adjourn to April 20 was consistent with the Constitution, due to the fact that the mandatory process commenced by submitting a notice of motion against Prime Minister James Marape by the Opposition was not fully completed.
Namah claimed that Parliament’s decision to adjourn to April 20 without debating and voting on the motion of no confidence was inconsistent with the Constitution.