CHIEF Justice Sir Salamo Injia told parties in the matter of the Special Supreme Court reference application relating to the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates that if they were not prepared to be heard on Sept 7, the matter will not be heard until next year.
The matter involves substantive issues of public significance of which the consequences may be fatal to the current government if successful, according to one of the lawyers who had represented the referrer on the matter in court recently.
Sir Salamo blamed the referrer – Western province governor Dr Bob Danaya – for the continuing delays in hearing the matter.
The matter was first submitted for hearing last October by Loani Henao Lawyers, however, Lomai & Lomai Attorneys was engaged since then.
Mr Henao, who withdrew from the case earlier this week, has been reengaged with the submission of change of lawyers entered in court before the Chief Justice yesterday.
Sir Salamo said because of the grave shortage in appropriate judges to be allocated to hear the Special Supreme Court reference, the matter could only be heard on Sept 7 or be deferred until next year.
The matter was referred by the provincial executive council of the Fly River provincial government headed by Dr Danaya.
The original matter looks at the Organic Law and its validity, which is the subject of the Special reference.
It looks into constitutional law provisions that include section 115: Parliamentary privileges; section 111: Right to introduce Bills; section 27: Responsibilities of Office; section 45: Freedom of conscience, thought and religion; section 47: Freedom of assembly and association; section 127: Purposes of subdivision H; section128: Registered political parties; section 129: Integrity of political parties; section 130: Integrity of candidates; and section 130A: Provisions relating to political parties.
The special reference is claiming that the OLIPPAC 2003 is “unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid”.
The referrer states that it arises because the Organic Law:
*Purportedly restricts the ability of a MP-elected as an independent from exercising his vote in Parliament in accordance with his conscience and the interests of his constituents;
*Purports to prevent a MP-elect as an endorsed party candidate from resigning from that political party for policy or conscience reasons; and
*Purports to prevent a MP-elect as an endorsed candidate of a political party from exercising his vote in Parliament in accordance with his conscience and the interest of his constituents.
Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta, who is a staunch supporter of Dr Bob Danaya in this matter, has tendered an affidavit supporting the special reference.Sir Mekere was also present in court yesterday.