PUNDIT Satyanand Maharaj says religious leaders have been observing and complying with covid19 guidelines as it relates to places of worship.
However, he said while there was a need to co-operate with the authorities on the pandemic, the Government must obey the Constitution and ensure that critical laws are made by Parliament and not one individual minister.
Maharaj was responding to Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh’s ruling in his constitutional claim which challenged the validity of the covid19 regulations.
On Friday, Boodoosingh held that while the regulations were permissible, those which made it a criminal offence if someone breaches the guidelines for places of worship were unlawful.
“I have succeeded in establishing an important principle namely, that making of these regulations by the Minister of Health without any form of parliamentary review, scrutiny or oversight is undemocratic and oppressive,” Maharaj said.
He added that recent events had demonstrated the necessity for Parliament to scrutinse those laws which seek to curtail the rights of citizens.
“If this was done, the Commissioner of Police and Minister of Health would not find themselves in the embarrassing position where they are forced to try and justify invading one citizen’s private home and arresting and charging persons in beach of the regulations, while failing to intervene and act in a similar manner when confronted by a mask-less pool party,” Maharaj said.
He added, “Parliament would have insisted that there be a clear definition of what is “a public place” and that would have avoided the present legitimate and understandable claims of racial and class discrimination.”
Maharaj also questioned the face mask legislation, saying it was pointless to ask a family to wear a mask when they are in their personal vehicle and should have instead been confined to persons using public transportation.