PNG Students Get Reprieve From Judge, Don’t Have To Leave Campus

Judicial review next week of UPNG decision to end semester

By Adam Mera

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 27, 2016) – The University of Papua New Guinea students will remain on campus until the decision by the university council for students to leave is properly argued in court on June 1.

Justice Colin Makail granted the interim orders in the National Court yesterday staying the university council following an urgent application filed by the students.

The students filed the application seeking stay and permission from the court for a judicial review of the council’s decision.

A university council decision was handed down on Tuesday for students, who had boycott classes for four weeks, to vacate the campus within 48 hours after declaring semester one suspended. The notice lapsed at 3pm yesterday.

The students had also sought a stay on the decision of vice-chancellor Professor Albert Mellam on May 17 inviting the police on to the Waigani campus however, it was refused by the court.

Justice Makail dealt with the stay first due to its urgency and chose to deal with the application for leave on June 1.

Lawyer representing the students, Laken Lepatu Aigilo said in his submissions that the university council does not have the mandate to ask the students to vacate the campus.

He said in doing so the council has also breached the right of the students under sections 32, 36, 41, 42 and 46 of the Constitution.

These are rights to freedom from inhumane treatment, liberty, and expression.

In refusing the stay on Prof Mellam’s decision, Justice Makail said even that although there was no evidence of ill-behaviour by the students, the continued police presence on campus was to ensure law and order was maintained.

Mr Aigilo told the court that the issues that will be argued on June 1 are the council’s eviction notice, its decision suspending the semester and the breach on students’ rights.

PNG Post-Courier
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