PNG university defies court stay order

5:47 pm on 27 September 2016

The University of Papua New Guinea is refusing to let seven students, who were granted a stay order against the administration's decision to terminate them, register for classes.

Students attend a rally at UPNG.

Students attend a rally at UPNG. Photo: UPNG4PNG

This is in relation to their roles in student protests against Prime Minister Peter O'Neil earlier in the year which saw the academic year suspended for months on end.

The National newspaper reported an interim court order granted by Justice Leka Nablu on Friday last week prohibited the university, its servants and agents from preventing the students from attending classes.

But one of the student leaders involved in the court action, Hercules Jim said they have been trying to register for classes since Friday but have been prevented from doing so by security personnel and staff at the university.

"We made several attempts also this morning to attend classes and register but we were told to fill out the registration form this morning but not to attend classes," he said.

"What they are saying is that the court has ordered, has made an order but the administration process will take its own course. Basically they are defying the court order."

Hercules Jim said he believes the UPNG administration is stalling for time. He said there will be an attempt made tomorrow by UPNG's legal team to have the interim court order overturned.

As well as the stay order Justice Leka Nablu granted the students leave to apply for a judicial review of the UPNG's decision to have them terminated.

The seven student leaders that are taking the UPNG administation to court are the Student Representative Council vice-president Arthur Amos, treasurer Jamie Sali, School of Law representative Livai Kuaken, Highlands region representative Hercules Jim, New Guinea Islands representative Alois Kaluwe and student leaders Chris Kipalan and Steward Thoke.

Students gather at the University of Papua New Giunea's Waigani Campus to discuss the issue of student leader termination.

Students gather at the University of Papua New Giunea's Waigani Campus to discuss the issue of student leader termination. Photo: Supplied

The students are seeking orders to quash the university's decision to permanently exclude them, reinstate them to the university and to claim damages.

Hercules Jim said if they were to win the court case it would mean other affected students could also stand a chance of continuing their education.

The matter of the Judicial review returns to court on the 20th of October.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs