Never-ending judicial politicization

8 02 2020

From Ji Ungpakorn’s blog

The Bangkok Post has a very useful article on yet another Constitutional Court political fudge.

While the vote on the Court was a close 5-4, it ruled that, despite regime MPs breaching the law and the constitution, the 2020 budget bill was “partially constitutional.”

Just those words show how manipulative the Constitutional Court is in seeking to bolster the regime of “good people.”

The Court “ordered MPs to vote again on the second and third readings during which illegal proxy voting was found.”

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has duly “called for a special session of the House of Representatives next Thursday to repeat the two readings to comply with the court ruling. Officials hope the process can be completed within one day.” That will be it, done and dusted and hang the law….

The Constitutional Court issued a statement “explaining” its decision:

The court said in a statement issued after the ruling that proxy voting violates the one MP-one-vote principle in the charter and House regulations, and actions must be taken against the wrongdoers according to related laws.

The court said its focus on the case was the process. It found the first reading went smoothly and was therefore constitutional. However, proxy voting took place in the second and third readings during Jan 10-11, making this part of the process unconstitutional.

Besides, the court wrote, there is an urgent need for budget disbursement and the new Constitutional Court law allows it to prescribe actions to be taken.

The court therefore decided the House vote again on the second and third readings. After that, the Senate will be asked to vote again on the bill. The House must report back to the court within 30 days from Friday.

“Explaining” yet another double standards contortion, the court said the circumstances were different from its ruling in 2014 against the then Yingluck Shinawatra government’s infrastructure bill.

While it did rule that “[d]uring the vote on the … bill for infrastructure projects … a Pheu Thai MP was found using more than one voting card,” the Court added this in on a ruling on a petition by an agitated Democrat Party that the infrastructure bill contravened sections 122 and 126 of the 2007 constitution.

It so ruled, although reading those sections of the constitution and the reporting of its 2014 ruling, it seems the Court knew that such a ruling was flimsy at best, so backed it up by ruling “that proxy voting breached the one-MP-one-vote principle in the 2007 constitution.” But, it now explains, the infrastructure borrowing bill had “essential clauses that [we]re unconstitutional”; the 2020 budget bill does not. It did not further elaborate.

But that seems a remarkable stretch. If a constitutional provision is broken, then it is broken, whether it is one article or three.

But there’s more constitutional trouble ahead, with iLaw observing that “Section 143 of the charter prescribes that the House must finish deliberating a budget bill within 105 days from the date it reaches the House. The deadline in this case was the end of January.”

We imagine that the devious Constitutional Court will need to sort that glitch out as well, again in favor of the generals and their regime.


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