Restrict rights of MPs, court urged

National, Normal


THE rights of parliamentarians and what they choose to do in the cause of representing their people must be restricted, the lawyer representing Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, the State and the Commission for the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates (OLIPAC) told the Supreme Court yesterday.
Alois Jerewai made this comment at the beginning of his submission yesterday defending the challenge of the OLIPAC and its validity, a referral by Western Governor Dr Bob Danaya and his provincial executive council that certain sections of this law restricts the democratic movements of MPs in effectively representing their constituents in Parliament.
Mr Jerewai submitted to the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court hearing the reference that the “primary rights” of the MPs were when they were elected to represent the people in government. Their secondary rights were above and beyond those enjoyed by all ordinary people but these “secondary rights” must be restricted, he submitted.
He told Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and judges Gibbs Salika, Bernard Sakora, Nicholas Kirriwom and Les Gavara-Nanu that “while the Constitution allowed the MPs their right to voluntary movements, there were certain restrictions that they were bound by which should and must be followed,” he submitted for the PM and the government and its entities he represents.
Mr Jerewai said these requirements were enshrined in the Constitution’s sections 57, 58, 59 and 60.
He said these “provisions must be read in their entirety to give it effect”.
The court heard that Dr Danaya had made submissions with supporting submissions from Lae MP Bart Philemon and Imbonggu MP Francis Awesa as well as affidavit support from Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta.
They argued that OLIPAC was overly restrictive and was moving towards “dictatorship”.