Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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Parliament to debate High Court (Amendment) Bill

Attorney-General Siromi Turaga says the High Court Act 1875 and the Magistrates Court Act 1944 were amended to establish the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court and the Anti-Corruption Court respectively and this did not provide any specific improvement to the administration for dealing with anti-corruption matters.

While speaking on his motion to amend the Act in Parliament, Turaga said the Bill seeks to amend the Act to disestablish the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court of the High Court and the Anti-Corruption Division of the Magistrate Court.

He said pursuant to Standing Orders 51, that the High Court (Amendment) Bill 2023, thhs should be considered by Parliament without delay and that the Bill must pass through one stage at a single sitting of Parliament and that the Bill must be not referred to a Standing Committee or other Committee of Parliament and that the Bill must be debated and voted upon Parliament.

“Given the important implications of our legal system, it is submitted that this warrants the urgent consideration of the Bill by Parliament, therefore, the Bill must be considered without delay.”

However, Opposition MP Jone Usamate while responding to the motion said there does not seem to be anything urgent about this Amendment Bill to make this come under Standing Orders 51 and Opposition objects to amendment of this Bill.

“I am flabbergasted…and the definition of hypocrisy, when you condemn something continually and at the very first thing that you do you do exactly the thing that you can condemn.”

“On that basis, we are not in concurrence with this idea that this Bill should be brought through Standing Order 51.”

In his right of reply, the Attorney-General said Government is here to correct some of the injustices, the same process that was used, by now the other side.

“The fact is, we are taking away what was created in 2021 for the interest of justice. For the better administration of justice, it is urgent that this is debated in this session of Parliament,” Turaga added.

Parliament will debate the Amendment Bill tomorrow.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com


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