NEWS

Fiji Times Application For Stay Refused

  The Suva High Court in its decision delivered yesterday granted the Fiji Times, application for leave for Judicial Review but refused Fiji Times application for Stay of the decision
18 Jun 2016 11:26
Fiji Times Application  For Stay Refused
Fiji Sun lawyers Komal Singh (left) and Emmanuel Narayan of Patel Sharma Lawyers after the case yesterday. Photo: RONALD KUMAR.

 

The Suva High Court in its decision delivered yesterday granted the Fiji Times, application for leave for Judicial Review but refused Fiji Times application for Stay of the decision made by the acting Permanent Secretary for Communication’s to award Fiji Sun as the print media – newspaper organisation for the publication of Government advertisements and Government notices for 2016.

Emmanuel Narayan appeared for Fiji Sun. Lawrence Fung appeared for the applicant and Robyn Ann Mani and Sophina Ali appeared for the respondent.

The Fiji Times had made an application by way of Judicial Review seeking orders for leave for Judicial Review in respect of the decision to award the advertising tender to Fiji Sun.

In terms of the Judicial Review procedures, the Court granted leave for Judicial Review but refused the application which would have prevented Government from advertising in the Fiji Sun.

The Judge, Justice Deepthi Amaratunga in his 21 pages decision observed that many of the matters and issues raised by the Counsel for The Fiji Times, Fiji Sun and the Attorney-General’s Chambers, were matters which were properly for determination at the substantive hearing and not at the leave stage.

The Court further upheld the arguments on behalf of the A-G’ s Chambers and Fiji Sun that “the Government Corporations and Government Companies and other entities that are under Government control are not bound to advertise in the interested party. If so there is clearly no loss to the applicant from the decision conveyed to them on December 24, 2015 from such entities.

It was argued that the “discounted rate” was available for such entities and they are free to select the print media they prefer.

The court further upheld that there is no evidence of irreparable loss to the applicant and the loss is the revenue from Government advertising it received previously. The historical values are not an indication of the future and since there are only two players in the market, the loss to the Applicant cannot be considered irreparable.

The Court further observed that “the Plaintiff has not submitted the statistics of the revenue it received from the Government corporations since the decision on December 24, 2015.

The respondent had published Public Notices and the decision was implemented for nearly three months before this application. In such a circumstances, the balance of convenience lies in favour of the Respondent.

There is no evidence of irreparable loss to the Applicant that warrant stay of the decision conveyed on December 24, 2015 by the Respondent”.

The matter before the Court will take its normal course in terms of the applicable procedures.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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