A statement about Bill 198 : A dangerous bill which undermines the Constitution.
Life Research Unit is seriously preoccupied about Bill No 198
It is very worrying that this bill may go against and nullify sentences of the Constitutional Court which have established that in all the stages procedures which may lead to administrative fines amounting to thousands of Euros, citizens have the right to appear in a court of justice, rather than in front of a tribunal, officials or public corporations.
With the amendent proposed to the Interpretation Act, the legislator is trying to change the meaning of the Constitution with a simple majority in Parliament instead of the required two thirds.
Those who labour in the pro-life camp find this a highly disquieting precedent.
If this proposal comes into effect, a nasty precedent will have been created, whereby in the near or distant future any Government enjoying a majority of one may change the meaning and substance of words like “person’’ or “life’’ in Article 33 of the Constitution, and may, for example, exclude unborn children from the definition of “person’’, or introduce euthanasia by changing the meaning of ther word ‘’life’’.
It is also highly preoccupying that, through this Bill, Government will allow the Equality Board in Bill No 97 (Equality) to inflict large administrative fines (20000 Euros fine and penalties of 500 Euro daily) on organisations and/or institutions who are deemed guilty by lay persons nominated by government of “discrimination’’, a term which is defined very vaguely in Bill No 97. This despite decisions by the Constitutional Court that only Courts of law can impose such fines and penalties.
The Constitution should remain the highest protection for the law in our country.
It is very important for people to be aware that this precedent can constitute a threat to the Constitution. Therefore, we call upon all NGOs and others who are conversant with the law to express their concerns as well. We request the highest authorities in the land, including His Excellency the President of Malta to ensure that the Maltese Constitution is not undermined.
Life Research Unit is the Advisory Legal Unit within Life Network Foundation.
22 March, 2021.
Life Network Foundation