The High Court of Solomon Islands. Photo credit: SIBC.

The High Court of Solomon Islands. Photo credit: SIBC.

The High Court has struck out most of the amended regulations contained in the Member of Parliaments’ Commission Amendment Regulations 2015, declaring them as unconstitutional.

Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer declared that regulations 2a, 3, 5, and 36, 9, 10, 14, 15, 28, 29, 32, 33 and 34 are unconstitutional, null and void.

Regulations 33 and 34 seek to make Members of Parliament salaries tax-free.

Chief Justice Palmer said while it is not in dispute that the Commission has power under section 69 to make salaries and entitlements exempt from tax and other liabilities, evidence shows the Commission failed to consult with relevant authorities, in particular, to see submissions from relevant offices within Government that handle taxation matters.

Regulations 5 and 36 relate to the increase of the Member’s Discretionary Fund from $300,000.00 to $500,000.00.

The Chief Justice said the increase is not only unreasonable and totally unjustifiable, it also fails to take into account the advice given by other authorities.

Other regulations he struck out were the increase of acting allowances for Supervising Ministers, the setting up of a health and Medical care scheme for members of Parliament and their families
within or outside of Solomon Islands, and the setting up of a new life insurance scheme for Members of Parliament and their families.

The ruling today is a landmark win for senior citizens Waita Ben Tabusasi, Ruth Liloqula, Tony Hughes and Reverend Mark Graham and MP for West Makira Hon. Derick Manu’ari on behalf of ordinary Solomon Islanders.

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