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Bill Passed for Private Meetings with No Permit

Bill Passed for Private Meetings with No Permit
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’
February 09
12:07 2017

A bill that will allow people to hold meetings without a Police permit was pushed through under Standing Order 51 in Parliament yesterday.

While presenting the Public Order Amendment Bill 2017, the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the amendment made to the Bill was to allow people to hold meetings in private places without a permit.

The Bill was passed with 31 votes to 12 while six didn’t cast their votes.

He said the Bill specifically created a new definition of what was a public place.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said people who wanted to hold meetings only needed to apply for a permit if they wanted to hold meetings in public places like in Albert Park or Ratu Sukuna Park.

But he said no permits were needed if the meeting was held in an individual’s house or any place not related to a public place.

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said if words uttered in that meeting would create communal discord then the authorities had the powers to stop that meeting.

He said the amendment to the Bill was to remove the requirement for the application for permits.

Opposition MP, Semesa Karavaki said there was no need for Standing Committees of Parliament if Bills were passed through Standing Order 51.

Government MP, Veena Bhatnagar said the Bill was to ensure security of others in public places for being responsible leaders of the nation.

She said it was not appropriate to do whatever they wanted in a public place.

Standing Order amendments

Meanwhile, the motion on the amendments to the Standing Order was passed yesterday.

An amendment on Standing Order would prohibit the Secretary –General to Parliament from issuing uncorrected copies of the Hansard to the public.

The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that all Members of Parliament were accountable to every Fijian.

He said the amendments proposed by the Standing Order Committee were related to functions and working on it.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said issue raised from Opposition was the change of decrees to acts and committees not allowed to have minutes.

He said the committees would decide whether they wanted to have minutes but that did  not restrict the public into the committee hearings.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said minutes of committee or proceeding would only be made available on request.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

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