Students told to serve UPNG admin

An urgent application filed by the UPNG SRC president Kenneth Rapa will be heard by the National Court’s Human Rights track tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday).

The matter came before Justice David Cannings this afternoon who refused to hear the application as respondents in the application were not served the notice of motion.

This is a fresh proceeding and the motion was filed on June 17. 

Justice Cannings described the ‘non-service’ on the part of the lawyer representing the students as an ‘ambush’ on the respondents.

UPNG Registrar Jennifer Popat is the first respondent, the UPNG Senate is the second respondent while the state is the third respondent.

He said he could not see why the lawyer representing the students, (Laken Lepatu Aigilo) could not serve the respondents, ordering they be served by 10am tomorrow.

The application will be heard at 4pm.

 In the application, the students are seeking two main orders.

The first order the students’ application is seeking is a declaration of the court to nullify the purported Students Reaffirmation form the UPNG administration issued to students to sign when the suspension of semester one was lifted. 

The other order seeks to restrain Popat and the University enforcing that the students’ sign the Reaffirmation form.

Aigilo explained that if students signed the reaffirmation form, they will basically shut down their rights to raise concerns and views the students had been fighting for in terms of national concerns.

On June 8, the University of Papua New Guinea administration succeeded in obtaining a National Court order to restrain the members of the Student Representative Council from boycotting classes.

The National Court issued restraining orders against members of the SRC, including President Kenneth Rapa and the student body, from putting up barricades to block classrooms and lecture theatres, threatening and assaulting enrolled students and university staff.

This interim injunction also restrains members of the SRC and students from carrying out activities which are contrary to their enrolment as students.

The matter will return to court on June 22 for the substantive matter, which will see the court hear the judicial review filed by the students.

On June 1, the National Court granted leave for the students’ application for a judicial review to be conducted into the University Council’s decision on May 24, ordering students to vacate the campus within 48 hours.

Sally Pokiton