Thailand’s Constitutional Court has unanimously rejected two petitions challenging the constitutionality of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s incomplete recital of his oath of office on July 16. One was submitted by a Ramkhamhaeng University student through the Ombudsman’s Office and the other by Ruangkrai Likitwattana, former member of the now defunct Thai Raksa Chart Party.

In one of the cases, university student Panupong Churak claimed that his rights and liberty had been violated by the Prime Minister’s action, which he claimed was unconstitutional. The Ombudsman’s Office found his case valid for submission to the Constitutional Court for consideration.

For a petition regarding the violation of an individual’s rights and liberty to be accepted by the charter court, the court said that the alleged violation must be committed by a state agency, a state official or an agency exercising state authority.

The court said that the swearing-in ceremony was a political issue concerning the cabinet and the Monarchy, adding that it was beyond the jurisdiction of the court to examine the cabinet’s swearing of an oath in the presence of HM the King.

In his petition to the charter court, Ruangkrai claimed that the swearing-in of the Prime Minister and his cabinet was unconstitutional and that the presentation of government policy statement to parliament amounted to an act of sabotage against constitutional democracy.

The court said that Ruangkrai’s claim related to a factual issue which the Prime Minister had already taken steps to resolve before Ruangkrai submitted his petition.

The court also ruled that there was no evidence of the commission of subversive acts intended to overthrow democratic rule with the King as head of state, as claimed by Ruangkrai. The court, therefore, unanimously rejected Ruangkrai’s petition.

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