Justice Kamal Kumar is expected to deliver the judgement on the strike out hearing of Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry against the State on notice.
The strike out hearing of Chaudhry’s case against the State for his application that he is eligible to contest this year’s general election was heard yesterday before Justice Kumar in the High Court in Suva.
Solicitor-General Sharvada Sharma, representing the Attorney-General’s Office, said the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter under the Fijian Constitution.
Mr Sharma said the Supervisor of Elections should have the final decision on whether or not Chaudhary can be nominated as a candidate for the 2018 General Election.
“This court cannot decide any application by any person who comes before this court to say, that I am eligible to contest the elections. Imagine the flood gates, my Lord, if one application was allowed,” Mr Sharma said.
“This would frustrate the entire electoral process which is promulgated pursuant to the Constitution.”
He also said: “For those reasons the application by Mr Chaudhry seeking to challenge Section 56 and seeking to seek orders that he is eligible to contest the elections – this court does not have jurisdiction.”
Mr Sharma said that the application sought by Mr Chaudhry was a challenge against the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji.
Mr Sharma referred to Section 56, sub-section 2, which stated that any person may be a candidate for election to Parliament only if a person has not at any time during eight years immediately before being nominated being convicted of a criminal offence.
Chaudhry’s legal representative, Anand Singh, in responding to Mr Sharma, told the court that his client was not challenging the Electoral Act. He said they challenged the framework of the Constitution.
He said the provision of the High Court was the fundamental right of the country and the court had the power to deal with the matters before it.
In raising a rhetorical question, Mr Singh asked if a citizen had a right to go to the courts and challenge the Constitution if he feels the Constitution was breaching his human rights and human dignity and equality?
Mr Singh said as a democratic society and the values attached to the society ensures that a citizen has a right to go to the courts, but if denied, what would he do?
Justice Kumar said he would deliver the judgment on notice.