Speaker's Pandemic Act challenge dismissed

The Supreme Court has dismissed the application by the Speaker of Parliament Job Pomat as an intervener, challenging the constitutionality of the National Pandemic Act.

The Speaker of Parliament Job Pomat in his application stated that under Section 110 (1) of the Constitution, the Speaker is obliged to certify under the National Seal in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Parliament that a law has been made by Parliament.

Pomat argued that under the Standing Order 221 of the Parliament, ‘every act made by the Parliament shall be presented to the Speaker for certification under the National Seal, having been first certified by the signature of the Clerk as having been passed by the Parliament.

However, Justice Derrick Hartshorn in his ruling dismissed the Speaker’s application adding that the Pandemic Act is now brought under scrutiny and therefore the Speaker needs to explain why he certified the Law as a law properly made by the Parliament.

Justice Hartshorn added that the Speaker needs to explain to the Courts on the issue of whether or not the Act was indeed properly passed by the Parliament.

In the substantive application, leader of the Opposition, Belden Namah requested the court to declare the National Pandemic Act unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective because it offends against and is inconsistent with certain sections of the Constitution; it removes certain legislative powers from the Parliament and places it with the National Executive; it removes certain Parliamentary supervision; imposes harsh and oppressive penalties and is inconsistent with and affects certain constitutional freedoms.

However, the Speaker does not state as a reason for the National Pandemic Act to be declared unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective, that the Act was not properly passed by Parliament or as a result of an action or inaction of the Speaker 

Therefore, Justice Hartshorn said the Speaker has not satisfied the court that he has a right or liability recognized in law, which is directly or is likely to be affected by the issues in the application.

Consequently, the Speaker’s application to intervene was dismissed.  

Freddy Mou
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