Mandalay Court Rejects Lawsuit Against 2008 Constitution

By Zarni Mann 25 July 2017

MANDALAY – The Mandalay Region high court refused to accept a lawsuit on Tuesday in which five organizations urged the government to declare the 2008 Constitution illegal.

A spokesperson from the court told The Irrawaddy that the case goes beyond their mandate.

“The judge said the case is beyond the Union judiciary, so it is unacceptable. The file was returned to the complainants,” said U Myint Soe, spokesperson and director general of the regional high court.

Fifteen complainants from the Association of Elected Lawmakers from the 1990 General Elections, the United National Democratic Organization, the Farmers’ Union, the Human Rights Violations Investigation Committee and the Karen Women’s Organization, said they would continue to push the lawsuit forward by submitting it to the Union high court in Naypyidaw.

Representatives of the five groups who filed the lawsuit are pictured outside the Mandalay high court on Tuesday. (Photo: Zarni Mann / The Irrawaddy)

The coalition pointed to the large gap in population statistics from the 2008 Constitution to the 2014 national census, which they said voids the military-drafted charter.

According to the 2008 Constitution, the country’s population was 57 million, but according to the 2014 national census, conducted in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund, the population of Myanmar is 51 million.

“A Constitution is vital for the country. If we are still accepting the illegal and inappropriate Constitution, it is not good for the future of the country, so we are trying to abolish it and write a new one,” said U Aung Thura, the five groups’ legal adviser.

“We wonder why the courts are so ignorant of the rights of the citizens. Since they refused to accept the case, we will move forward in order to make this happen, whatever steps it may take,” he added.

Submitting the complaint to the divisional high court in Mandalay is the second attempt by the groups to call on the government to label the 2008 Constitution as illegal. The organizations first went to Naypyidaw in early July to file a lawsuit at the Dekkhinathiri District Court.