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A-G Welcomes Poll Ruling

The High Court in Suva has confirmed that the Supervisor of Elections is not required to follow the directives of the Electoral Commission if the directive is contrary to the
25 Aug 2014 20:24
A-G Welcomes Poll Ruling
Republic of Fiji Military Forces troops with New Zealand Defence Force troops on pre-depolyment training for Peacekeeping duties. Photo: Mereleki Nai FIJI SUN | TUESDAY, JULY 2, 2019 | FIJISUN.COM.FJ 20 NATION NZ High Commissioner to Fiji Jonathan Curr delivering the training opening address at the Black Rock Camp in Nadi on July

The High Court in Suva has confirmed that the Supervisor of Elections is not required to follow the directives of the Electoral Commission if the directive is contrary to the Constitution, the Electoral Decree and the law.

It further held the Supervisor, Mohammed Saneem, was right to seek the legal advice of the Solicitor-General before deciding on whether to act on the commission’s directions.

Attorney-General and Minister for Elections Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum welcomed the court’s decision which ruled in favour of Mr Saneem who was taken to court by the commission.

The court also said that it would be absurd and beyond rationale to expect Mr Saneem to wait for the commission’s determination on objections and appeals until midnight of the third day as the commission claimed it had time until.

“Fundamentally what the court has said the time the clock started ticking on Tuesday afternoon and it ended on Friday afternoon and essentially what the Supervisor of Elections did was correct,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

A-G Welcomes Poll Ruling

A-G Welcomes Poll Ruling

“The court has also said that it is essential that the Supervisor of Election should not be directed to follow any directives of the commission if the directives are not valid in law – just because you have the power to direct does not mean that you direct one to do anything that is outside the bounds of the law.”

Mr Saneem had proceeded with the draw of the candidate list on Saturday without taking into the consideration the rulings of the commission, which was received out of time. If the decision had been in time by the commission then in practical terms only two candidates would have been affected – namely Steven Singh of FLP and Parveen Kumar of FijiFirst.

“The court has essentially upheld that the electoral process is essentially very time bound,” he said.

“The nominations have to close on a particular day, objections and appeals have to be filed by a particular time and the law had stated that within three days the Electoral Commission must give its ruling and in fact once the Electoral Commission gives it’s ruling within the specified time then nobody can challenge it this year.”

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