Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 10:19 AM on Tuesday 23 September

/ Front page / News

Protection

Felix Chaudhary
Friday, April 12, 2013

THE poor are protected from paying exorbitant fines including maintenance, debt or taxes if they are unable to do so under the Right to Personal Liberty provision in the draft constitution.

Attorney-General and Minister for Electoral Reform, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum explained this during the constitution consultations at the Tanoa International Hotel in Lautoka on Tuesday.

The A-G cited sub-section 2 of the draft constitution that states that it "does not permit a court to make an order depriving a person of personal liberty on the ground of failure to pay maintenance or a debt or tax, unless the court considers that the person has wilfully refused to pay despite having the means to".

"This is very important because a lot of people did not understand this," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"For example, if I'm driving along and the LTA fines me $800 but I'm earning maybe $80 a week. The judge or the magistrate can't expect me to pay $800. Especially in the case where I have a wife and dependents and I am the sole breadwinner and don't have the means.

"If you don't have the means to pay, then the court can't send you to jail. The court may say you can pay $3 a week or something.

"That is very very important because otherwise, you'll have all the poor people in prison and we don't want that. So that's there to protect that particular provision."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also explained that the Right to Personal Liberty could not be used by any person convicted of a crime by a court of law.

"This is again directly borrowed from the 1997 constitution. Basically, it talks about the fact that your personal liberty cannot be taken away unless, for example, there is a court order that says you need to go to jail."


Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Who will be in Cabinet
  2. Fiji's PM
  3. Opposition will be effective
  4. Fight not in vain
  5. Writ of Election returned
  6. Woman, 50, in hospital
  7. Friendship intact
  8. Vegetable prices up
  9. Threatening dives
  10. Taps run dry as crisis worsens

Top Stories this Week

  1. FijiFirst claims 60 per cent Thursday (18 Sep)
  2. Parties reject result Friday (19 Sep)
  3. Leader of the pack Thursday (18 Sep)
  4. No stop Friday (19 Sep)
  5. Fiji First in strong lead: Fiji Elections Saturday (20 Sep)
  6. FijiFirst leads Thursday (18 Sep)
  7. PM's 1st mission Monday (22 Sep)
  8. Elections supervisor to announce final results Friday (19 Sep)
  9. Bainimarama's promise: I will serve all Monday (22 Sep)
  10. Election office begins to receive final results Friday (19 Sep)