Crime

SODELPA Case Deferred

The plaintiffs, who are executive party members, have taken SODELPA to court, claiming that it breached the party constitution, the Act and the 2013 Constitution when it held its annual general meeting in Savusavu on June 28 this year.
11 Dec 2019 12:31
SODELPA Case Deferred
Adi Litia Qionibaravi, Sitiveni Rabuka and Watisoni Nata. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The hearing for a SODELPA court case yesterday was deferred to January 30 next year because of a Constitutional issue.

The case is before Civil High Court in Judge, Justice Vishwa Dutt Sharma.

The plaintiffs, who are executive party members, have taken SODELPA to court, claiming that it breached the party constitution, the Act and the 2013 Constitution when it held its annual general meeting in Savusavu on June 28 this year.

SODELPA’s lawyer, Filimoni Vosarogo told the court that it should be determined whether by virtue of the acts and/or omissions referred to in other questions in the summons, any of the defendants contravened the plaintiff’s rights enshrined under the Section 23 (1) (b) of the Constitution.

Usaia Waqatairewa Photo: Ronald Kumar

Usaia Waqatairewa Photo: Ronald Kumar

The section states: Participation in the activities of, or recruitment of members for, a political party.

Mr Vosarogo told the court that what the plaintiffs were bringing before the court was a likely contravention and according to the Section 44 (8), the High Court must not proceed to hear and/or determine the matter unless the notice of the matter was given to the Attorney-General.

Adi Litia Qionibaravi Photo: Ronald Kumar

Adi Litia Qionibaravi.Photo: Ronald Kumar

Section 44 (8) of the Constitution states: If the proceedings before the High Court relate to a matter concerning a provision of this Chapter, the High Court must not proceed to hear and determine the matter until it is satisfied that notice of the matter has been given to the Attorney-General and a reasonable time has elapsed since the giving of the notice for consideration by the Attorney-General of the question of intervention in the proceedings.

The plaintiffs are led by the party’s Suva Constituency president Watisoni Nata. The others are Kesaia Makita, Asenaca Ravulo, Rogowale Seniviavia, Dr Mere Samisoni, Emele Duituturaga, Jope Koroisavou, Silivenusi Waqausa and Malakai Vuetibau.

Ro Filipe Tuisawau Photo: Ronald Kumar

Ro Filipe Tuisawau. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The defendants are the party and its officials, Ro Filipe Tuisawau (President), Adi Litia Qionibaravi (Vice-President), Anare Jale (Vice-President) and Usaia Waqatairewa ( General Secretary).

The plaintiffs are represented by Ashneel Narayan and Victor Sharma of Nadi-based AK Lawyers.

Watisoni Nata. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Watisoni Nata. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Mr Narayan told the court that his office had contacted the Solicitor-General and he would send the proceedings to the Attorney-General’s Office.

He also told the court that the A-G’s Office would advise the court on whether it wished to intervene in the matter or not on the next court date.

However, both parties told the court that they were ready to proceed with the hearing.

Justice Sharma has ordered both the parties to file their written submissions to the court by January 24.

Sitiveni Rabuka Photo: Ronald Kumar

Sitiveni Rabuka Photo: Ronald Kumar

Edited by Iva Nataro

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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