Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court has refused an application by the Ombudsman Commission to prevent parliament from deliberating on a proposed increase in the election nomination fee
The Ombudsman last month filed an application for an injunction to prevent Parliament from debating, deliberating and voting on the National Election nomination fee as well as the petition filing fee.
The government planned to raise the nomination fees from 1000 to 10,000 kina or around 3-thousand US dollars, and the petition fee four-fold to 20,000 kina, or 6-thousand US dollars.
The Post Courier reported that the Supreme Court refused the application on grounds that it could not interfere with Parliament to deliberate on the plans.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill welcomed the court decision, saying it would enable Parliament to decide if election nomination and petitioning fees would be adjusted.
The Government needs two-thirds majority (75 MPs) to pass the constitutional amendment at the last session of Parliament starting on March 28, before the National Election, due to begin in late June.
Mr O'Neill said the proposed amendments would strengthen democratic process to enable true contenders to stand for elections, and would help prevent the malicious use of the court system after elections.
Critics of the proposed fee hikes argued that the government is broke and looking to pass the buck for the funding of the election; and that the fee rise disenfranchises those not currently in power.