– Chancellor of the Judiciary
THE response by politicians of the two major political parties to the Chief Justice’s ruling recently handed down in the 2012 budget cut case continues to evoke concerns by functionaries within the legal sector.
In an invited comment on the issue, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Carl Singh stated that the principle of “obedience to the law” requires every citizen to respect and obey judgments/decisions and orders of the courts.
He further noted that “the general principle is that no matter how erroneous or flawed an order of a court may be perceived to be, that order must be respected, obeyed and/or complied with until it is set aside by a superior court.
The doctrine of the separation of powers does not insulate any branch of government or the representatives of such branch from the obligation to show respect for and obedience to orders of the courts. Where there is defiance and disobedience to orders of the courts, the result is a state of anarchy, chaos, and confusion.”
Both the Leader of the Opposition, David Granger and Leader of the Alliance For Change, Khemraj Ramjattan have indicated publicly that the ruling is wrong and they will not abide by it, and will cut the 2014 budget although the ruling clearly says that they have no lawful right to do so.
Recently, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall issued a statement on this matter in which he stated that, “the position is, unless and until, a pronouncement made by a court is set aside by another court of competent jurisdiction, that pronouncement must be obeyed and respected by all, irrespective how wrong one may feel that pronouncement is. This is an elementary principle which harbours no exception whatsoever. It is designed to protect and maintain the integrity of the administration of justice, the rule of law, and indeed the entire society.”
He explained that the, “Doctrine of Separation of Powers devolves onto the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary clearly delineated and defined powers and functional responsibilities. The Constitution recites them in its provisions. Each of these organs is expected to operate within their respective provinces and not to trespass on to the territorial power and responsibility of the other. Importantly, they must discharge their functions independently, but with reciprocal comity.”