By KARO JESSE
A SPECIAL Supreme Court application filed by Opposition Leader Belden Namah questioning the legality of Prime Minister James Marape’s election was dismissed on defective grounds on Friday.
Marape’s lawyer McRonald Nale, from Jema Lawyers, overshadowed the application through an objection to competency by pointing out to the court that the application used an incorrect file reference and was incorrectly entitled “reference”.
The file reference was supposed to be entitled “application”.
The court endorsed Nale’s submission which claimed that Namah failed to strictly comply with Supreme Court rules in both of his original and amended applications.
This non-compliance went to the jurisdiction of the court that rendered the application (original and amended) incompetent to proceed.
The Supreme Court panel comprising Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi; Justice David Cannings and Justice Jeffery Sheppard upheld Nale’s submission endorsing that strict compliance was especially necessary in cases which an applicant was seeking to overturn the will of the parliament as to which of its members ought to hold office as prime minister.
The court found that Namah’s special application was non-compliant to Order 4, Rule 1 and form 1 of the Supreme Court rules.
According to the court’s decision, defects in the original application, repeated in the amended application, were material errors which had created confusion at the outset as to the jurisdiction of the court Namah (applicant) was seeking to invoke.
“The Supreme Court has no power to entertain references (as distinct from application),” Justice Cannings said.
“The interveners and, more importantly, the court have been led into error on multiple occasions by referring to the proceedings as a “Reference” and describing the applicant (Namah) as a “referrer”.
“We considered that two respects in which the application and amended depart from the rules are serious defects,” he added.
It is according to the jurisdiction of the court that defects on Namah’s application could not be cured by any amendments, the proceedings were fatally flawed.
There were four grounds which PM’s lawyer Nale submitted in objecting the special application:
1. Applicant (Namah) lacked the capacity to commence the proceedings as a leader of opposition because his was not the leader of opposition at the relevant time he filed the application;
2. Applicant improperly amended the application without seeking leave of the court;
3. Application was not in compliance with Order 4, Rules 1, 3 and Form 1 of Supreme Court rules; and,
4. Applicant used incorrect file reference and incorrectly entitle the file reference as “Reference”.
Three of the four grounds were dismissed by the court, the court upheld ground 4(b) of the objection- incorrect entitlement as “Reference”.
By KARO JESSE