PNG Governor Calls For Judicial Review On Separation Of Powers

Stems from special sitting of parliament ordered by Supreme Court

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 25, 2016) – The special sitting of parliament as ordered by the Supreme Court to deal with the motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister raises a lot of confusion in regard to the separation of powers.

Morobe Governor Kelly Naru called on Parliament and the executive to seek a judicial review on the matter,

He said that the July 12 orders to reconvene parliament raises a number of serious constitutional issues, principal among which is the notion of the principle of separation of powers.

He said the Constitution, section 99(2) provides for the three principal arms of Government, namely the National Parliament, the National Executive, and the National Judicial system comprising the Courts

"Under section 99(3) of the Constitution it is stated: in principle, the respective powers and function of the three arms shall be kept separate from each other.

"This is the constitutional basis and the source of the principle of separation of powers by the three arms of government.

"Under the principle of separation of powers there is a requirement and need for mutual respect to be maintained at all times between the three arms of the Government and in our situation between the Judiciary and the National Parliament.

"In this respect, Parliament has no right to interfere with the functioning of the Courts in the discharge of their judicial function to dispense justice. Likewise the Courts have no power to interfere with the way in which Parliament goes about to conduct its businesses.

"The only qualification imposed on these two arms of Government in the discharge of their respective powers and functions is that both arms of Government must act within the requirement of the Constitution."

Mr Naru said pertinent and relevant constitutional issues must be the subject of a constitutional reference by Parliament to the Supreme Court to get judicial clarity on the demarcation and mutual co-existence and functioning of the principle of separation of powers between Parliament and the Judiciary.

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