The PPP/C’s contention that the Learned Chief Justice, Mr. Ian Chang, would rule on the issue of, ‘budget cuts’, when Action 218-W of 2012, Demerara, A.G. –v– Raphael Trotman, David Granger, comes up before him on the 8th day of May 2013 is erroneous.
The issue of the lawfulness of the 2012 Budget cuts raised in the Writ of Summons of the aforesaid action is not ripe for hearing.
Before the matter is ripe for hearing, the Plaintiff, A.G. Mr. Anil Nandlall is required to file a Statement of Claim under the Rules of the High Court. The Defendants Trotman and Granger would next be required to file their Defences, and the A.G., a Reply. The A.G. then files a Request for Hearing and the matter takes its place on the list of cases, to be heard in the High Court.
Of course, the A.G. has not filed any Statement of Claim in order to trigger the other steps aforementioned. The A.G., in the interim, had filed An Exparte Application by way of Affidavit for an Interim Order.
The only issue for the determination of the Chief Justice there under was a request by the A.G. that the Minister of Finance be allowed to make advances/withdrawals from the Contingencies/Consolidated Funds for the purpose of restoring funds cut from the Budget. (See page 7 of judgement).
The Learned Chief Justice held that the Court must decline to order any interim relief in relation to reductions or cuts to those line items to which the Appropriation Act applies. (See page 31).
The Learned Chief Justice’s reasons for the said decision included that:
i.Cabinet had decided to accept the estimates of Expenditure as reduced by the NationalThereafter, the accompanying Appropriation Bill was amended and re-introduced and laid before the National Assembly. As amended to conform with the cuts made by the National Assembly, that Bill was passed by the Assembly. (See pages 25 and 26).
ii.It is constitutionally prohibited to withdraw moneys from the Consolidated Fund (and any other Public Fund) without the authorization of an Act of Parliament under Article 217 [See pages 28 and 29].
iii.The Court could not substitute itself for the Minister of Finance for the purposes of laying before the National Assembly a supplementary estimate of Expenditure under Article 218 (3) or making advances from the Contingencies fund where he determines there is an urgent need. (See page 31).
There is presently no other application before the Learned Chief Justice in this matter, and, therefore, nothing on which his jurisdiction could be invoked.
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2012 BUDGET CUTS ACTION NOT PRESENTLY “RIPE” FOR HEARING BEFORE THE CHIEF JUSTICE - APNU Updates ...