Seychelles' Top Court Delays Government Pay Raise Ruling Until Friday

The Seychelles Constitutional Court has postponed its judgement in the petition brought by President Danny Faure against the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nicholas Prea.

The judgement was scheduled to be delivered Tuesday morning but the Court comprising of Justices Ronny Govinden, Laura Pillay and Gustave Dodin said it will now be done on Friday, November 29.

"The judgement is nearly completed. We need a few days to finalise everything and we will reconvene on Friday morning," said Justice Govinden.

Both parties made their submissions to the court on October 22.

The petition is in relation to the annulment by the National Assembly of a regulation which makes provision for a five percent increase for government employees.

On March 19, the government presented the Public Service Salary Amendment Bill 2019 to the National Assembly seeking approval for a five percent increase across the board for government workers. This meant that higher-paid workers would get a bigger increase.

The opposition members in the National Assembly objected and said the budgeted amount should be shared equally with employees who qualify to get the same amount of increase.

With no consensus reached by the due date of April 1st, the government said it will implement the increase through a regulation which was the Statutory Instrument 18 of 2019.

The S.I., which is a form of delegated legislation allowing the government to bypass the parliament, was quashed by the opposition members in a special sitting of the National Assembly.

Faure's counsel, Alexandria Madeleine, had argued in her submissions that the National Assembly interfered with Faure's constitutional rights when it annulled SI 18 2019.

On his part, Prea's counsel, Joel Camille told the court that the National Assembly acted within the law when quashing the SI and that it had "unfettered power to do so."

Camille cited sections 63 and 64 of the Interpretation and General Provisions Act of the National Assembly, which gives the Assembly such power.

Prea's counsel had initially filed his objections on the merits of the case on October 1.

Faure had initially filed two petitions against the National Assembly's decision.

The court on September 17 dismissed the first petition which was requesting that the Supreme Court exercise supervisory jurisdiction in relation to the National Assembly's quashing of the Statutory Instrument.

In the second petition, the Constitutional Court ruled the case had merits and dismissed all five objections presented by Prea's lawyer who was given until October 22 to make his submissions.

It is the first time in the history of the third republic of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, that a Speaker is being held accountable for the decision taken by the National Assembly.

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