VILLAGE bylaws are not legally binding at this stage, says the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs Board.
Responding to the concerns that were raised over the fairness of village bylaws on iTaukei men and women in the north, iTaukei Affairs Board Provincial Services division manager, Timoci Namotu said village bylaws have not been legally gazetted and are not legally binding.
Mr Namotu said since its proposal in 2009 there had been no decree or legislation gazetted to recognise the legality of such bylaws.
"At this point the village bylaws have not been legalised and it is not a legal instrument," said Mr Namotu.
"There have been bylaws that have been previously passed in villages by chiefs as a means of assuring peace and order in their respective villages but these were still under review and are still to be gazetted to make it a legal instrument," he said.
Concerns were earlier raised by a women's group in the north regarding the unfairness of village bylaws that seem to concentrate on restricting iTaukei women on a lot of issues while iTaukei men were free of these restrictions.
Mr Namotu said village bylaws were not legally binding which meant the bylaws were null and void.
"However we must realise that villages have their own set of rules that govern people that live within these settings and it is only wise and becoming that villagers conform to these rules to create an order within our iTaukei villages," Mr Namotu said.
"The iTaukei Affairs Board is yet to receive complaints of villagers being penalised under these bylaws as they are ineffective and are not legally binding on the citizens of Fiji including villagers in iTaukei villages."
"In the iTaukei village setting women are viewed and treasured as they are a reflection of any village so therefore village bylaws are often more concentrated on the welfare of iTaukei women."
Mr Namotu said the bylaws were part of life in villages from time immemorial and were a form of common law for Fiji but that it still had to be encoded in the form of a legislation.