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No challenge

By NASIK SWAMI
Monday, April 08, 2013

AFTER elections in September 2014, the new parliament cannot challenge any decision made under various decrees put out by the government.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said when the new parliament sits, it could amend the decrees, get rid of them or keep them but whatever "they cannot apply retrospective changes to the decree".

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the new parliament could get rid of laws it did not like.

"Once the elections are held and the new parliament comes, if they come in and say we don't like this law they can get rid of it but you can't go and challenge any of the decisions that were made under it. For the future, you can change it but you can't go back.

"…you cannot retrospectively go back into any of the decrees. So the new parliament may sit after the election in September 2014. This constitution says specifically that the elections under this constitution must be held no later than September 30 of 2014. So it must be held by then."

Giving a practical example, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the VAT being paid now was put in place as a decree by the Rabuka government when there was no parliament.

"When the new parliament got elected under the 1990 constitution, whatever one may think of that constitution, the decree continued ... similarly if you say that any of the decrees that have been put in place by the Bainimarama government can be challenged, it means that people who are now paying 15 per cent VAT can go back and say I only want to pay 12 per cent or 12.5 per cent."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there was absolutely no restriction whatsoever imposed on the new parliament to change decrees or to get rid of them altogether.

"They (new parliament) don't like the media decree, they don't want people to pay VAT, they want to get rid of domestic violence decree - they can do that but they cannot say a person who was given a restraining order under the domestic violence decree back in 2007 or whenever that law came into effect should not have been restrained and therefore he or she is liable for damages," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.





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