Lawmakers challenge budget cuts

 

A total of 114 opposition MPs and senators this morning lodged a petition to the Constitution Court challenging the government’s decision to substantially slash the budgets for the judiciary and some independent organizations.

The petition was signed by 64 Democrat MPs and 50 senators was submitted to Deputy House Speaker Charoen Chankomon to be passed on to the Constitution Court for consideration.

Senator Paibul Nititawan disclosed that the judicial office had asked for 26 billion baht for the 2014 fiscal year but was given only 14 billion baht, the office of the Administrative Courts was given two billion baht out of a request of 2.9 billion baht.  The cutback for the two judicial offices amounts to 40 percent, he said.

On the contrary however, the senators noted that the budgets for the Interior Ministry, the Tourism and Sports Ministry and the Office of the Attorney-General were substantially increased.

Citing Article 168 of the Constitution, Senator Paibul said that the government was duty-bound to allocate adequate budgets for the parliament, the Constitution, Courts of justice, the Administrative Court and all the charter-mandated independent organizations such as the National Counter Corruption Commission.

He said that the 114 lawmakers wanted the Constitution Court to rule whether the budgetary cuts made by the budgetary scrutiny committee were constitutional or not.