Ratu Epeli rules out petitions by the Opposition

Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in Parliament. Picture: SUPPLIED/FIJIAN PARLIAMENT

Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau this morning gave his rulings on three petitions which were submitted to Parliament by the Opposition.

Leader of Opposition, Sitiveni Rabuka in his petition wanted the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights to conduct a holistic inquiry into the new requirements needed for voter registration.

Mr Rabuka had included in his petition concerns about the need for birth certificates to renew voter identification cards and the ban on married women using their husband’s name, unless they change it by deed poll.

Ratu Epeli said he had scrutinised the petition and Parliament does not have the responsibility on the matter.

He said the constitution firmly entrenches these matters as responsibility of the electoral commission

Meanwhile by Opposition MP, Lynda Tabuya submitted two petitions calling for a parliamentary inquiry into domestic violence and the step we need to take as a nation to save lives.

She also called for an investigation to Grace Roads Church in Fiji by Parliament in her second petition.

Ratu Epeli also disallowed Ms Tabuya’s first petition saying there is already a legal framework for this and also the Ministry responsible is already working on the issue.

As for her second petition Ms Tabuya stated that Grace Roads Church was founded on hate, and founder, Shin Ok-ju has assaulted her followers, and promoted racism in her sermons.

She requested for a Parliamentary inquiry into the presence, activity and business operations of the Church and of its 400 plus members in Fiji.

Ratu Epeli in his ruling said Parliament says every person who is not a citizen but is lawfully in Fiji, has the right not to be expelled from the country, until there is ruling by the court or the minister responsible.

He added Parliament has not been given the mandate to restrict the right through the petitions process.

Ratu Epeli said the Fiji Police Force is responsible for any investigation and therefore dismissed the petition.



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