Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, who was instructed by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to get an interpretation on whether judges are entitled to sabbatical leaves, said yesterday that the matter may soon go before the court.
Last Thursday, Al-Rawi was instructed to take relevant steps to clarify whether there exists any such leave for members of the judiciary after Chief Justice Ivor Archie had applied for sabbatical leave before changing it to vacation leave after controversy stirred over whether he in fact qualified to take sabbatical.
Giving an update at a press conference yesterday, Al-Rawi said, “I can tell you that the papers are nearly finished in terms of settling.”
He said there were certain affidavits to go along with the interpretation.
“We expect to file in a couple of days. We were actually trying to meet today as a filing date, but the evidential background in terms of some of the anecdotal information…some of the public information that has to go on affidavit, that had to be settled.”
The AG said they expect any day now to be in a position “to file those proceedings at the High Court and then to press on with the matter.”
Asked how long would it take for such a matter to come before the court after it has been filed, Al-Rawi said they are asking the court for an interpretation.
“To settle an issue in which they are differing views, suffice it to say there are differing views. This runs to the heart of constitutionality.
“Obviously, you are talking about your judiciary, which is independent in the arrangement of our democracy and therefore you have to treat with this carefully.”
In terms of how long the matter can take, Al-Rawi said it can be a “fast product” depending on how the parties approach the matter.
“Obviously, the Attorney General is a party and the Judicial and Legal Services Commission is a reasonable party in these manoeuvres. Persons may wish to intervene in the matter we are yet to see,” he said.
“But if parties consent to treating with it on an expedited basis, it can certainly be expedited. What is required is clarity in relation to the law and certainly to our constitutional arrangements so that we get this right in moving forward.”
Al-Rawi also said Rowley made the perfect decision in taking the matter to the court for ventilation.
Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Shaliza Hassanali)