By WASAMON AUDJARINT,
JUDGES should stop protesting because the two issues in the draft charter that they oppose have already been amended, Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman Borwornsak Uwanno said yesterday.
Earlier yesterday, representatives of senior judges submitted an open letter signed by 2,079 judges, claiming that the draft charter allows interference in the justice system and affects the credibility of the Judicial Commission’s personnel management system.
Senior Supreme Court Judge Sriamporn Salikup said that he and fellow Judge Somchart Thanyawinitkul had submitted the list and the letter to Pattarasak Wannasang, secretary-general of the Office of Judiciary of Thailand. In the letter, they voiced opposition to the CDC’s proposal that judges facing disciplinary punishment should be allowed to appeal to the Administrative Court, instead of the Justice Court.
The letter was also submitted to Borwornsak, who rejected the notion that the CDC would stand firm on its previous stance and not adjust the clauses concerned with judges’ affairs.
Borwornsak argued that Article 9 of the Establishment of the Administrative Court Act and the 1999 Administrative Court procedure stipulated that the law could not apply to cases related to appeals or orders issued by the Judicial Commission.
“Spreading incorrect information without checking is not right,’’ he said.
Article 219, he said, which had earlier stipulated that the right to rule on appeals related to judges facing disciplinary punishment rested with the highest court that governs the judiciary – had already been changed.
The Article now says: “Appointments, transfers, salary adjustments, disciplinary punishment, appeals and review or complaints filed by judges must be carried out or processed independently in accordance with law.”
He said the Supreme Court president and related agencies would decide how to establish a mechanism to deal with appeals from judges and draft details of the appeal issues for legislation to be considered by Parliament.
“We believe judges should be entitled to appeal against punishments such as sacking or dismissal, as this right is enjoyed by other civil servants across the world,” he said.
As for the stipulation in Article 219 allowing more than a third of the Judicial Commission to be made up of non-judges, that plan had also been amended, he said.
Borwornsak explained that it had been changed to: “A committee, which is an organisation that deals with personnel management of the Courts of Justice or Administrative Court judges, should be established to ensure independence of judges and judicial officials. The organisation’s composition, authority and procedures will be as indicated by law.”
CDC spokesman General Lertrat Ratanavanich said the drafting team was not worried that opposition from the judges would delay the charter drafting because they were only seeking to change a few points.
The CDC was improving the draft charter based on reasoning, public interest and organisational culture, he said.