Sat, Jan 22, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Judiciary `disappointed'

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Judicial Yuan officials yesterday expressed disappointment in the legislature's decision to remove grand justices "professional bonus" from a budget proposal.

"Justice should stand alone. However, this time, we do feel that judicial independence was not respected at all," said Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Fan Kuang-chun (范光群).

Fan made the remarks during a press conference at the Judicial Yuan yesterday morning in response to the legislature's decision on Thursday night to remove a "professional bonus" paid to grand justices, which amounts to a NT$89,325 deduction from their monthly paychecks.

independence

"The judiciary's independence is assured and protected by the Constitution. Article 5-6 says that even the Executive Yuan is not allowed to make any changes on Judicial Yuan's annual budget when the proposal is submitted along with the central government's," Fan said. "What the lawmakers did was actually unconstitutional. We will seek all possibilities to make it up to grand justices."

Thursday night's veto of the proposal was directed by lawmakers from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP).

The lawmakers said the grand justices are not carrying out the job of a "judge," so they should not enjoy the "professional bonus" of regular judges.

The lawmakers did not deny that the move was a political punishment for the grand justices' ruling that the March 19 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Statute (三一九槍擊事件真相調查特別委員會條例) was partially unconstitutional.

On Tuesday KMT-PFP legislators said they planned to cut the grand justices' bonus in retaliation for the Council of Grand Justices' ruling on the committee statute. The statute was initiated and passed by pan-blue lawmakers last year.

Fan cited the Constitution to refute the lawmakers' argument that the justices do not act as judges.

"Article 5-4 of the Constitution clearly says that grand justices are judges who decide whether a case is constitutional," Fan said. "Everything is written down in black and white in the laws."

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