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No argument as Constitutional Court judges stay on

Nov 22. 2017
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By The Nation

Meechai Ruchupan, head of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), said he could not argue against the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) committee’s vetting of the organic law allowing Constitutional Court judges to stay in position until their terms end.

However, he said the new Constitution has determined new qualifications to guide the office periods of members of independent agencies.

The organic law will be deliberated on Thursday in the NLA’s second and third readings after it passed the first reading and amendment by the NLA law-vetting committee.

The CDC originally drafted the law to allow only those meeting the new qualifications to stay on, but the NLA vetting committee has changed the related clauses to allow all of them to stay on.

Whether to allow members of independent agencies to stay on until their terms end following the promulgation of related organic laws has become an issue because the treatment is different for different agencies. In some agencies, such as the Election Commission, all members have been reset.

Meechai said the NLA law-vetting committee’s decision was done within the Court’s previous judgement that members of independent organisations could either be removed immediately, stay as long as they were qualified by the new charter, or just stay on.

Hence, he could not argue. Any argument would be of no use because the Constitutional Court’s judgement binds all agencies to follow it, he said.

Currently, the Constitutional Court has nine judges. Four are continuing in their terms because those terms have not yet finished, while five have already completed their terms but are serving as caretakers.

Meechai said new judges could be recruited once the law was effective.

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