Saturday, December 22, 2007

Govt breached constitution: Court


20 DEC 2007
Fiji’s interim Government breached the Constitution when it reduced the retirement age for civil servants from 60 to 55, the High court has ruled.

High Court judge Justice Filimoni Jitoko ruled in favor of civil servants after the Fijian Teachers Association and the Fiji Public Service Association took the matter to court earlier this year, following a Cabinet decision to reduce the retirement age.

In lowering the retirement age, without the agreement of the affected party, the interim government had acted in breach of the constitution which protects an individual from discrimination based on age, Justice Jitoko said.

The court also declared that the decision is an unlawful one and therefore null and void.

It has also ordered that the decision to reduce the retirement age be quashed.

Fijilive

State considers appealing High Court ruling
21 DEC 2007
Fiji’s interim regime says it is seriously considering appealing the decision by the High Court on the judicial review application by the Fijian Teachers Association on the retirement age of teachers.

The High Court yesterday ruled that the regime breached the Constitution when it reduced the retirement age for civil servants from 60 to 55.

High Court judge Justice Filimoni Jitoko said in his judgement that the Public Service Commission, by lowering the mandatory retirement age of civil servants without the agreement of the affected party, was a breach of section 38 of the Constitution.

Section 38 provides for the protection of an individual from discrimination on the basis of age.

As a result of its findings, the court made a declaration that PSC’s (Public Service Commission) decision of March 9 early this year to lower the retirement age to 55 years was in breach of section 38 of the Constitution, unlawful, therefore, null and void.

The Attorney-General’s office says that although the State had vigorously opposed the application for judicial review by the FTA and the Fiji Public Service Association, the court was not swayed by its arguments.

The State is expected to comment further after thorough study of the judgment and instructions from the PSC.

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