CHARTER IN THE MAKING
Courts, A-G to get major overhaul
The Courts and the Office of the Attorney General are slated for major changes under the draft constitution, the subcommittee in charge of drafting provisions on independent organisations revealed yesterday, following a four-hour session.
In one of the planned changes, the subcommittee recommended the formation of an electoral court to rule on campaign violations.
The provincial courts will have the jurisdiction to review the qualifications of candidates for local elections.
For the courts of justice, judges can be hired to serve on the bench until they reach 70. The job contract will be on one condition: they cannot serve in a higher court than their last posting when reaching the mandatory retirement at 60.
All independent organisations, including the judiciary, will have the mandate to sponsor draft bills pertaining to their internal management.
Citizens will be allowed to directly petition the Constitution Court and there will be provisions to ensure easier public access for judicial review.
The appointment of the attorney general will need the endorsement of Parliament, while the number of ombudsmen will increase from three to five.
The National Counter Corruption Commission and the State Auditing Board will be authorised to initiate graft probes, without requiring to have complaints lodged first.
Many subcommittee members devoted the major part of the session to debating the issue of safeguarding the professional independence of public prosecutors.
Subcommittee member Sodsri Satayatham tried - but failed - to push for a revamp in the appointment process for the position of Supreme Court president.
Sodsri said the judicial appointment should adhere to the seniority system instead of the peer vote. The majority in the subcommittee disagreed with her and voted not to revise provisions on the Judiciary Commission, which is responsible for the appointment.