April 03, 2014 00:00
By PIYANUT TUMNUKASETCHAI
THE CONSTITUTIONAL Court yesterday voted unanimously to proceed with a petition against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has been accused of breaching the charter with regard to the transfer of the National Security Council (NSC) chief.
“We agree to consider the petition against the prime minister and ask that she defend herself within 15 days of receiving the court papers,” the court said in a statement. If found guilty of breaching the Constitution, Yingluck and her entire Cabinet could face dismissal for approving Thawil’s transfer.
A group of senators led by appointed Senator Paiboon Nititawan filed the petition, which alleged that Yingluck breached the charter by ordering the transfer of NSC secretary-general Thawil Pliensri to an inactive advisory post at the PM’s Office. They asked the court to rule on whether the premier should be dismissed based on the unlawful transfer.
The Supreme Administrative Court in March ruled that Yingluck’s order to remove Thawil as the NSC chief was unlawful and ordered Yingluck to reinstate him.
The group of senators filed the petition following the Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling. The petition noted that the charter did not allow the government to transfer permanent officials for the sake of vested interests.
The senators alleged that Yingluck violated Articles 180, 182 (7), 266 (2), 266 (3) and 268 of the charter by transferring Thawil to an inactive post so that her former brother-in-law, Pol General Priewpan Damapong, could win the post of National Police chief.
Thawil’s post of NSC chief was given to then police chief Pol General Wichean Potephosree, who agreed to vacate his seat for Priewpan.
Article 266 (2) states that a minister cannot interfere in “the recruitment, appointment, reshuffle, transfer, promotion, and elevation of the salary scale of a Government official holding a permanent position or receiving a permanent salary and not being a political official, or an official or employee of a Government agency, a State agency, a State enterprise, an undertaking of which the majority of shares are owned by the State, or a local Government organisation.”