Baseless arrogations of power, interference

DPP Roger Gaspard - ROGER JACOB
DPP Roger Gaspard - ROGER JACOB

THE EDITOR: Whether the court practice rules are delegated legislation or not, they have to be true to the originating legislation. In this case the Electronic Transactions Act is a facilitative mechanism for allowing use of electronic media, to be allocated in freedom, not in imperative.

In the case of legal proceedings, this then would be subject to ordinary interpretation according to long-standing custom, probity and rules of natural justice.

First the discretion and the choice by-election – two dimensions – to proceed digitally would have to be respected.

Second, the demands of objective forensic investigation, especially in criminal law, would require that if the Director of Public Prosecutions adjudges to rely on hard copies, they should be provided. But since when is the Registrar controlling indictments?

As things have gone there are the unmistakable breaches inter alia of necessary protocols and rules of impartiality. This is becoming a pattern.

Justice Westmin James adapted this "delegated" idea in the Revenue Authority case to say that the tax function was "delegated by the executive," which (somehow) consequently meant that the executive could withdraw it at will and reassign the "function" or "functioning."

This is not in the Constitution. The executive branch exists in many differing theories; but in TT it exists subject to the Constitution and to its laws. It is not the case that the executive in TT can create groupings at will to democratically enact events that may subsist outside the constitutional and legal settings.

In addition, attaching the label "delegated" for such matters is very misleading. For what would be going there would be a mix of all sorts of things
ultra vires, interference, arrogation, subversive, etc; as if the marker of the Constitution was there only to fix what can be avoided.

Then, according to "executive preference" and on its say-so, governing would be about "executive favour" and the executive would be carrying out personalist drives.

Well, now come back to the Dana Seetahal affair. Someone who got a jump on the DPP is being upheld and defended for doing so even though they should be penalised. Otherwise there would have been no reason for the Chief Justice subsequently to have to "institute clarifications."


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"Baseless arrogations of power, interference"

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