Constitution Court accepts petition against charter rewrite

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BANGKOK, April 12 – The Thai Constitution Court voted 5:3 on Thursday to take under consideration a petition by a civic group which sought an injunction to the parliamentary amendment of a crucial section in the charter.

Bavorn Yasindhorn led the group in submitting the petition to the court, saying a move by 312 national legislators to rewrite Section 68 of the Constitution was a breach of the people’s constitutional rights.

The 312 lawmakers proposed that Section 68 be amended to authorise the Office of the Attorney-General as the sole state agency to examine complaints against acts deemed detrimental to the constitutional monarchy.

Section 68 stipulates that members of the public can lodge a complaint directly to the Constitution Court against any moves deemed threaten the royal institution.

A similar petition, submitted by 40 senators, was accepted by the Constitution Court early this month.

The court told Mr Bavorn and his colleagues to make 312 copies of the complaint to be delivered to the lawmakers. The proponents of the amendment, led by Senator Nikom Wairatpanich, were instructed to clarify to the court within 15 days after receiving the documents.

Three bills to amend Section 68 and many other sections of the Constitution were passed in the first reading by a joint parliamentary session on April 4, pending the second and third readings.