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CDC member hits out at NLA over ‘shameful’ changes in organic bill

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Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) member Pattara Khumphitak slammed in his Facebook post the passage of the new Constitutional Court organic bill on Thursday, raising questions on how it could protect the rights and freedom of people.



He said it was shameful how some provisions had been revised.
Among the clauses he found objectionable was the one that did not allow people who suffered infringement of their rights and freedom to directly approach the Constitutional Court. 
Pattara explained that the clause had to match a provision in the charter, which guarantees such a right. But Article 213 in the charter also states that the petition procedures should be stipulated in the organic law.
Pattara told The Nation yesterday the bill had been revised making it necessary for people to route their complaints through the Ombudsman and not directly approach the Constitutional Court as proposed in the CDC’s original draft.
He also criticised the stringent conditions that require people to first complain to related agencies. Only after the agencies fail to respond are they allowed to approach the Ombudsman.
Pattara said all these caused difficulties to suffering people. It remains unclear whether this violated the Constitution, and following the legal procedures, the draft bill would be submitted to the Constitutional Court and the CDC for further review. A joint committee could be set up in the event of one of the agencies disagreeing with the NLA draft.
The bill is among 10 organic laws addressed in the charter. The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in its second and third readings on Thursday passed the bill, which also allows the court’s nine judges to remain in office despite the new qualifications set under the new charter to determine their terms after the law is promulgated.
The CDC had drafted the bill in line with the charter, but the NLA amended the draft after the first reading in line with the recommendations of its law vetting committee.
The court would also be empowered to impose temporary measures to prevent severe and irreparable damage and any foreseeable violence. The legislation was approved with 188 votes for and none against and five abstentions, after hours of intense debate. 
Chartthai Pattana Party director Nikorn Chamnong yesterday expressed concern about the NLA’s passage of the bill on the point that it would see all the judges remaining in office. 
Nikorn said the current judges are viewed as having been involved in past political conflict although nobody knows the full truth. He said in the circumstances, a full reset of the court would therefore be the best choice to rise above any doubts.
“What we need is an institution which is non-partisan. But if it’s not, how can we move forward in the future? This is something that we are worried about,” said Nikorn.

Published : November 24, 2017