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National Assembly of Mauritius

You are here The Constitution


CHAPTER V – PARLIAMENT

PART I – THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

  1. Parliament of Mauritius

 

(1) There shall be a Parliament for Mauritius, which shall consist of the President and a National Assembly.

(2) The Assembly shall consist of persons elected in accordance with the First Schedule, which makes provision for the election of 70 members.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Speaker and Deputy Speaker

 

(1) (a) The Assembly shall, at its first sitting after any general election, on motion supported by the votes of a majority of all the members of the Assembly elect –

 

(i) from among its members or otherwise, a Speaker;

(ii) from among its members, a Deputy Speaker.

   (b) A motion under paragraph (a) shall not be the subject matter of a debate in the Assembly.

(2)   A person who is a Minister shall not be qualified for election as Speaker or Deputy Speaker.

(3)   The office of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker shall become vacant –

    (a) where –

 

(i) the Speaker, in the case of a Speaker who is a member of the Assembly; or

(ii) the Deputy Speaker, eases to be a member of the Assembly otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of the Assembly;

   (b) where he –

 

(i) is convicted of a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment by a court in any part of the Commonwealth;

(ii) is adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt in any part of the Commonwealth; or

(iii) is adjudged to be of unsound mind or is detained as a criminal lunatic under any law in force in Mauritius; and

the Assembly passes a resolution supported by the votes of a majority of all the members requiring his removal from office;

(c) where he becomes a Minister;

(d) where the Assembly passes a resolution supported by the votes of two-thirds of all the members requiring his removal from office;

(e) where the Assembly first sits after any general election;

(f) in the case of the Deputy Speaker, when the Assembly first sits after being prorogued;

(g) in the case of a Speaker who is not a member of the Assembly, where, without leave of the President previously being obtained, he is absent from the sittings of the Assembly for a continuous period of 3 months during any session for any reason other than his being in lawful custody in Mauritius;

(h) where he becomes a party to any contract with the Government for or on account of the public service, or where any firm in which he is a partner or any company of which he is a director or manager becomes a party to any such contract, or where he becomes a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to any such contract, or where he becomes a trustee, manager or, with his consent, a beneficiary of a trust which is a party to any such contract.

(4)  Where the office of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker becomes vacant at any time, the Assembly, in the manner specified in subsection (1), shall, unless it is sooner dissolved, elect –

 

(a) from among its members or otherwise, a Speaker;

(b) from among its members, a Deputy Speaker.

(4A) No person shall be eligible for election as Speaker unless he is a citizen of Mauritius.

(4B) A person elected as Speaker shall not, whilst in office –

 

(a) hold any other office of emolument, whether under the Constitution or otherwise;

(b) exercise any profession or calling.

(5)   A person holding the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker may resign his office by writing under his hand addressed to the Assembly and the office shall become vacant when the writing is received by the Clerk to the Assembly.

(6)   No business shall be transacted in the Assembly (other than the election of a Speaker) at any time when the office of Speaker is vacant.

(7)  Where a motion is presented for the purposes of subsection (3)(b) or (d), the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker, as the case may be, shall not preside over the proceedings of the Assembly at that sitting.

(8)   (a)  Notwithstanding any pending judicial proceedings by or against the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker or any thing contained in the Standing Orders of the Assembly, where a motion is presented to the Speaker by the Prime Minister for the purposes of subsection (3)(b) or (d), the motion shall –

 

(i) be required to specify the ground for such removal;

(ii) form part of the business of the Assembly when it first sits after presentation of the motion;

(iii) have priority over all other business of the Assembly;

(iv) be the subject matter of a debate in the Assembly;

(v) be put to the vote of members at that sitting.

(b)  Where a motion presented by the Prime Minister for the purposes of subsection (3)(b) or (d) does not form part of the business of the Assembly as provided under paragraph (a)(ii), the Prime Minister may, before the commencement of the business at the sitting, table the text of the motion in the Assembly, and the motion shall thereupon be dealt with in accordance with this subsection.

[Amended 2/82; 36/90; 1/96]

  1. Qualifications for membership

 

Subject to section 34, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the Assembly if, and shall not be so qualified unless, he –

(a) is a Commonwealth citizen of not less than the age of 18 years;

(b) has resided in Mauritius for a period of, or periods amounting in the aggregate to, not less than 2 years before the date of his nomination for election;

(c) has resided in Mauritius for a period of not less than 6 months immediately before that date; and

(d) is able to speak and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, to read the English language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him to take an active part in the proceedings of the Assembly.

  1. Disqualifications for membership

 

(1)   No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the Assembly who –

(a) is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a power or state outside the Commonwealth;

(b) is a public officer or a local government officer;

(c) is a party to, or a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to, any contract with the Government for or on account of the public service, and has not, within 14 days after his nomination as a candidate for election, published in the English language in the Gazette and in a newspaper circulating in the constituency for which he is a candidate, a notice setting out the nature of such contract and his interest, or the interest of any such firm or company, therein;

(d) has been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in any part of the Commonwealth and has not been discharged or has obtained the benefit of a cessio bonorum in Mauritius;

(e) is a person adjudged to be of unsound mind or detained as a criminal lunatic under any law in force in Mauritius;

(f) is under sentence of death imposed on him by a court in any part of the Commonwealth, or is serving a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) exceeding 12 months imposed on him by such a court or substituted by competent authority for some other sentence imposed on him by such a court, or is under such a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which has been suspended;

(g) is disqualified from election by any law in force in Mauritius by reason of his holding, or acting in, an office the functions of which involve –

 

(i) any responsibility for, or in connection with, the conduct of any election; or

(ii) any responsibility for the compilation or revision of any electoral register; or

(h) is disqualified for membership of the Assembly by any law in force in Mauritius relating to offences connected with elections.

(2)  Where it is prescribed by Parliament that any office in the public service or the service of a local authority is not to be regarded as such an office for the purposes of this section, a person shall not be regarded for the purposes of this section as a public officer or a local government officer, as the case may be, by reason only that he holds, or is acting in, that office.

(3)   For the purpose of this section –

 

(a) 2 or more terms of imprisonment that are required to be served consecutively shall be regarded as a single term of imprisonment for the aggregate period of those terms; and

(b) imprisonment in default of payment of a fine shall be disregarded.

  1. Tenure of office of members

 

(1)   The seat in the Assembly of a member shall become vacant –

 

(a) upon a dissolution of Parliament;

(b) where he ceases to be a Commonwealth citizen;

(c) where he becomes a party to any contract with the Government for or on account of the public service, or where any firm in which he is a partner or any company of which he is a director or manager becomes a party to any such contract, or where he becomes a partner in a firm or a director or manager of a company which is a party to any such contract:

Provided that, where in the circumstances it appears to him to be just to do so, the Speaker (or, where the office of Speaker is vacant or he is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Deputy Speaker) may exempt any member from vacating his seat under this paragraph where such member, before becoming a party to such contract, or before or as soon as practicable after becoming otherwise interested in such contract (whether as a partner in a firm or as a director or manager of a company), discloses to the Speaker or, as the case may be, the Deputy Speaker the nature of such contract and his interest or the interest of any such firm or company therein;

(d) where he ceases to be resident in Mauritius;

(e) where, without leave of the Speaker (or, where the office of Speaker is vacant or he is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Deputy Speaker) previously obtained, he is absent from the sittings of the Assembly for a continuous period of 3 months during any session for any reason other than his being in lawful custody in Mauritius;

(f) where any of the circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Assembly, would cause him to be disqualified for election thereto by virtue of section 34(1)(a), (b), (d), (e), (g) or (h);

(g) in the circumstances mentioned in section 36.

(2)   A member of the Assembly may resign his seat by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker and the seat shall become vacant when the writing is received by the Speaker or, if the office of Speaker is vacant or the Speaker is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, by the Deputy Speaker or such other person as may be specified in the rules and orders of the Assembly.

(3)  Where the seat in the Assembly of a member who represents a constituency becomes vacant otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of Parliament, the writ for an election to fill the vacancy shall, unless Parliament is sooner dissolved, be issued within 90 days of the occurrence of the vacancy.

[Amended 2/82]

  1. Vacation of seat on sentence

 

(1) Subject to this section, where a member of the Assembly is sentenced by a court in any part of the Commonwealth to death or to imprisonment (by whatever name called) for a term exceeding 12 months, he shall forthwith cease to perform his functions as a member of the Assembly and his seat in the Assembly shall become vacant at the expiration of a period of 30 days thereafter:

Provided that the Speaker (or, where the office of Speaker is vacant or he is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Deputy Speaker) may, at the request of the member, from time to time extend that period of 30 days to enable the member to pursue any appeal in respect of his conviction or sentence, so however that extensions of time exceeding in the aggregate 330 days shall not be given without the approval of the Assembly signified by resolution.

(2)  Where at any time before the member vacates his seat he is granted a free pardon or his conviction is set aside or his sentence is reduced to a term of imprisonment of less than 12 months or a punishment, other than imprisonment is substituted, his seat in the Assembly shall not become vacant under subsection (1) and he may again perform his functions as a member of the Assembly.

(3)   For the purpose of this section –

 

(a) 2 or more terms of imprisonment that are required to be served consecutively shall be regarded as a single term of imprisonment for the aggregate period of those terms; and

(b) imprisonment in default of payment of a fine shall be disregarded.

36A    Validity of previous elections

 

Notwithstanding any provision of this Constitution relating to the election of members of the Assembly or to their tenure of office as members of the Assembly, where, in relation to any general election held between 1 January 1967 and 30 September 1991, any person has committed an offence against an electoral law by reason of any act or omission in relation to the printing, publishing or posting of any bill, placard or poster, that act or omission shall not be held –

(a) to have affected or to affect the validity of the election of that person to the Assembly or of anything done by the Assembly or that member;

(b) to have disqualified or to disqualify that person from membership of the Assembly.

[Added 16/92]

  1. Determination of questions as to membership

 

(1)   The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any question whether –

 

(a) any person has been validly elected as a member of the Assembly;

(b) any person who has been elected as Speaker or Deputy Speaker was qualified to be so elected or has vacated the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker as the case may be; or

(c) any member of the Assembly has vacated his seat or is required, under section 36, to cease to perform his functions as a member of the Assembly.

(2)   An application to the Supreme Court for the determination of any question under subsection (1)(a) may be made by any person entitled to vote in the election to which the application relates or by any person who was a candidate at that election or by the Attorney-General and, where it is made by a person other than the Attorney-General, the Attorney-General may intervene and may then appear or be represented in the proceedings.

(3)   An application to the Supreme Court for the determination of any question under subsection (1)(b) may be made by any member of the Assembly or by the Attorney-General, and, where it is made by a person other than the Attorney-General, the Attorney-General may intervene and may then appear or be represented in the proceedings.

(4)   An application to the Supreme Court for the determination of any question under subsection (1)(c) may be made –

 

(a) by any member of the Assembly or by the Attorney-General; or

(b) by any person registered in some constituency as an elector,

and, where it is made by a person other than the Attorney-General, the Attorney-General may intervene and may then appear or be represented in the proceedings.

(5)  Parliament may make provision with respect to –

 

(a) the circumstances and manner in which and the imposition of conditions upon which any application may be made to the Supreme Court for the determination of any question under this section; and

(b) the powers, practice and procedure of the Supreme Court in relation to any such application.

(6)   A determination by the Supreme Court in proceedings under this section shall not be subject to an appeal:Provided that an appeal shall lie to the Judicial Committee in such cases as may be prescribed by Parliament.

(7)   In the exercise of his functions under this section, the Attorney-General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Electoral Commissions

 

(1)  There shall be an Electoral Boundaries Commission which shall consist of a chairman and not less than two nor more than seven other members appointed by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister tendered after the Prime Minister has consulted the Leader of the Opposition.

(2) There shall be an Electoral Supervisory Commission which shall consist of a chairman appointed by the President in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission and not less than 2 nor more than seven other members appointed by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister tendered after the Prime Minister has consulted the Leader of the Opposition.

(3) No person shall be qualified for appointment as a member of the Electoral Boundaries Commission or the Electoral Supervisory Commission if he is a member of, or a candidate for election to, the Assembly or any local authority or a public officer or a local government officer.

(4) Subject to this section, a member of the Electoral Boundaries Commission or the Electoral Supervisory Commission shall vacate his office –

 

(a) at the expiration of 5 years from the date of his appointment; or

(b) where any circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Commission, would cause him to be disqualified for appointment as such.

(5)   The provisions of section 92(2) to (5) shall apply to a member of the Electoral Boundaries Commission or the Electoral Supervisory Commission as they apply to a Commissioner within the meaning of section 92.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Constituencies

 

(1) There shall be 21 constituencies and accordingly –

 

(a) the Island of Mauritius shall be divided into 20 constituencies;

(b) Rodrigues shall form one constituency:

Provided that the Assembly may by resolution provide that any island forming part of Mauritius that is not comprised in the Island of Mauritius or Rodrigues shall be included in such one of the constituencies as the Electoral Boundaries Commission may determine and with effect from the next dissolution of Parliament after the passing of any such resolution, this section shall have effect accordingly.

(2)   The Electoral Boundaries Commission shall review the boundaries of the constituencies at such times as will enable them to present a report to the Assembly 10 years, as near as may be, after 12 August 1966 and, thereafter, 10 years after presentation of their last report:

Provided that the Commission may at any time carry out a review and present a report if it considers it desirable to do so by reason of the holding of an official census of the population of Mauritius and shall do so if a resolution is passed by the Assembly in pursuance of subsection (1).

(3)   The report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission shall make recommendations for any alterations to the boundaries of the constituencies as appear to the Commission to be required so that the number of inhabitants of each constituency is as nearly equal as is reasonably practicable to the population quota:

Provided that the number of inhabitants of a constituency may be greater or less than the population quota in order to take account of means of communication, geographical features, density of population and the boundaries of administrative areas.

(4)   The Assembly may, by resolution, approve or reject the recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Commission but may not vary them; and, if so approved, the recommendations shall have effect as from the next dissolution of Parliament.

(5)   In this section, 'population quota' means the number obtained by dividing the number of inhabitants of the Island of Mauritius (including any island included in any constituency in the Island of Mauritius by virtue of any resolution under subsection (1)) according to the latest official census of the population of Mauritius by 20.

  1. Electoral Commissioner

 

(1) There shall be an Electoral Commissioner, whose office shall be a public office and who shall be appointed by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.

(2)   No person shall be qualified to hold or act in the office of Electoral Commissioner unless he is qualified to practise as a barrister in Mauritius.

(3)  Without prejudice to section 41, in the exercise of his functions under this Constitution, the Electoral Commissioner shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.

  1. Functions of Electoral Supervisory Commission and Electoral Commissioner

 

(1)   The Electoral Supervisory Commission shall have general responsibility for, and shall supervise, the registration of electors for the election of members of the Assembly and the conduct of elections of such members and the Commission shall have such powers and other functions relating to such registration and such elections as may be prescribed.

(2)   The Electoral Commissioner shall have such powers and other functions relating to such registration and elections as may be prescribed, and he shall keep the Electoral Supervisory Commission fully informed concerning the exercise of his functions and shall have the right to attend meetings of the Commission and to refer to the Commission for their advice or decision any question relating to his functions.

(3)   Every proposed Bill and every proposed regulation or other instrument having the force of law relating to the registration of electors for the election of members of the Assembly or to the election of such members shall be referred to the Electoral Supervisory Commission and to the Electoral Commissioner at such time as shall give them sufficient opportunity to make comments thereon before the Bill is introduced in the Assembly or, as the case may be, the regulation or other instrument is made.

(4)   The Electoral Supervisory Commission may make such reports to the President concerning the matters under their supervision, or any draft Bill or instrument that is referred to them, as they may think fit and if the Commission so requests in any such report, other than a report on a draft Bill or instrument, that report shall be laid before the Assembly.

(5)   The question whether the Electoral Commissioner has acted in accordance with the advice of or a decision of the Electoral Supervisory Commission shall not be enquired into in any court of law.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Qualifications of electors

 

(1)  Subject to section 43, a person shall be entitled to be registered as an elector if, and shall not be so entitled unless –

 

(a) he is a Commonwealth citizen of not less than the age of 18 years; and

(b) either he has resided in Mauritius for a period of not less than 2 years immediately before such date as may be prescribed by Parliament or he is domiciled in Mauritius and is resident there on the prescribed date.

(2)   No person shall be entitled to be registered as an elector –

 

(a) in more than one constituency; or

(b) in any constituency in which he is not resident on the prescribed date.

  1. Disqualifications of electors

 

No person shall be entitled to be registered as an elector who –

(a) is under sentence of death imposed on him by a court in any part of the Commonwealth, or is serving a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) exceeding 12 months imposed on him by such a court or substituted by competent authority for some other sentence imposed on him by such a court, or is under such a sentence of imprisonment the execution of which has been suspended;

(b) is a person adjudged to be of unsound mind or detained as a criminal lunatic under any law in force in Mauritius; or

(c) is disqualified for registration as an elector by any law in force in Mauritius relating to offences connected with elections.

  1. Right to vote at elections

 

(1)   Any person who is registered as an elector in a constituency shall be entitled to vote in such manner as may be prescribed at any election for that constituency unless he is prohibited from so voting by any law in force in Mauritius because –

 

(a) he is a returning officer; or

(b) he has been concerned in any offence connected with elections:

Provided that no such person shall be entitled so to vote if on the date prescribed for polling he is in lawful custody or (except in so far as may otherwise be prescribed) he is for any other reason unable to attend in person at the place and time prescribed for polling.

(2)   No person shall vote at any election for any constituency who is not registered as an elector in that constituency.

PART II – LEGISLATION AND PROCEDURE IN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

  1. Power to make laws

 

(1) Subject to this Constitution, Parliament may make laws for the peace, order and good government of Mauritius.

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1), Parliament may by law determine the privileges, immunities and powers of the Assembly and its members.

  1. Mode of exercise of legislative power

 

(1)   The power of Parliament to make laws shall be exercisable by Bills passed by the Assembly and assented to by the President.

(2)   (a)  Subject to paragraphs (b) and (c), where a Bill is submitted to the President for assent in accordance with this Constitution, he shall signify that he assents or that he withholds assent.

        (b) The President shall not withhold assent under paragraph (a) –

 

(i) in the case of a Bill which makes provision for any of the purposes specified in section 54;

(ii) in the case of a Bill which amends any provision of the Constitution and which is certified by the Speaker as having complied with the requirements of section 47;

(iii) in the case of any other Bill, unless he is of opinion, acting in his own deliberate judgment, that the Bill including any proposed amendment thereto, should be reconsidered by the Assembly.

(c)  Where the President withholds assent under paragraph (b)(iii), he shall, within 21 days of the submission of the Bill for assent, return the Bill to the Assembly with a request that it should reconsider the Bill, including any proposed amendment thereto.

(d)   Where a Bill is returned to the Assembly under paragraph (c), the Assembly shall reconsider the Bill accordingly, and where it is passed again by the Assembly with or without amendment and submitted anew to the President for assent, the President shall signify his assent.

(3)   Where the President assents to a Bill that has been submitted to him in accordance with this Constitution, the Bill shall become law and the President shall thereupon cause it to be published in the Gazette as a law.

(4)   No law made by Parliament shall come into operation until it has been published in the Gazette but Parliament may postpone the coming into operation of any such law and may make laws with retrospective effect.

(5)   All laws made by Parliament shall be styled 'Acts of Parliament' and the words of enactment shall be 'Enacted by the Parliament of Mauritius'.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Alteration of Constitution

 

(1) Subject to this section, Parliament may alter this Constitution.

(2)   A Bill for an Act of Parliament to alter any of the following provisions of this Constitution –

 

(a) this section;

(b) sections 28 to 31, 37 to 46, 56 to 58 other than 57(2), 64, 65, 71, 72 and 108;

(c) Chapters II, VII, VIII and IX;

(d) the First Schedule; and

(e) Chapter XI, to the extent that it relates to any of the provisions specified in paragraphs (a) to (d),

shall not be passed by the Assembly unless it is supported at the final voting in the Assembly by the votes of not less than three quarters of all the members of the Assembly.

(3)   A Bill for an Act of Parliament to alter the provisions of section 1 or 57(2) shall not be passed by the Assembly unless –

 

(a) the proposed Bill has before its introduction in the Assembly been submitted, by referendum, to the electorate of Mauritius and has been approved by the votes of not less than three quarters of the electorate;

(b) it is supported at the final voting in the Assembly by the votes of all the members of the Assembly.

(4)   A Bill for an Act of Parliament to alter any provision of this Constitution (but which does not alter any of the provisions of this Constitution as specified in subsection (2)) shall not be passed by the Assembly unless it is supported at the final voting in the Assembly by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members of the Assembly.

(5)   In this section, references to altering this Constitution or any part of this Constitution include references –

 

(a) to revoking it, with or without re-enactment or the making of different provision;

(b) to modifying it, whether by omitting or amending any of its provisions or inserting additional provisions in it or otherwise; and

(c) to suspending its operation for any period, or terminating any such suspension.

[Amended 2/82; 48/91]

  1. Regulation of procedure in National Assembly

 

Subject to this Constitution, the Assembly may regulate its own procedure and may, in particular, make rules for the orderly conduct of its own proceedings.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Official language

 

The official language of the Assembly shall be English but any member may address the chair in French.

  1. Presiding in National Assembly

 

The Speaker or in his absence the Deputy Speaker or in their absence a member of the Assembly (not being a Minister) elected by the Assembly for the sitting, shall preside at any sitting of the Assembly.

[Amended 2/82; 48/91]

  1. National Assembly may transact business notwithstanding vacancies

 

The Assembly may act, notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership, (including any vacancy not filled when the Assembly first meets after any general election) and the presence or participation of any person not entitled to be present at, or to participate in, the proceedings of the Assembly shall not invalidate those proceedings.

[Amended 2/82; 48/91]

  1. Quorum

 

(1)  Where at any sitting of the Assembly a quorum is not present and any member of the Assembly who is present objects on that account to the transaction of business and, after such interval as may be prescribed by the Assembly, the person presiding at the sitting ascertains that a quorum is still not present, he shall adjourn the Assembly.

(2)   For the purposes of this section, a quorum shall consist of 17 members of the Assembly in addition to the person presiding.

  1. Voting

 

(1)  Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, all questions proposed for decision in the Assembly shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting; and a member of the Assembly shall not be precluded from so voting by reason only that he holds the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker or is presiding in the Assembly.

(2)  Where, upon any question before the Assembly that falls to be determined by a majority of the members present and voting, the votes cast are equally divided, the Speaker, whether he is a member of the Assembly or not, or any other person presiding, shall have and shall exercise a casting vote.

[Amended 1/96]

  1. Bills, motions and petitions

 

Except upon the recommendation of a Minister, the Assembly shall not –

(a) proceed upon any Bill (including any amendment to a Bill) that, in the opinion of the person presiding, makes provision for any of the following purposes –

 

(i) for the imposition of taxation or the alteration of taxation otherwise than by reduction;

(ii) for the imposition of any charge upon the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Mauritius or the alteration of any such charge otherwise than by reduction;

(iii) for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Mauritius of any money not charged on it or any increase in the amount of such payment, issue or withdrawal; or

(iv) for the composition or remission of any debt to the Government;

(b) proceed upon any motion (including any amendment to a motion) the effect of which, in the opinion of the person presiding, would be to make provision for any of those purposes; or

(c) receive any petition that, in the opinion of the person presiding, requests that provision be made for any of those purposes.

  1. Oath of allegiance

 

(1)   No member of the Assembly shall take part in the proceedings of the Assembly (other than proceedings necessary for the purposes of this section) until he has taken and subscribed before the Assembly the oath of allegiance prescribed in the Third Schedule.

(2)   Where a person other than a member of the Assembly is elected as Speaker, he shall not preside at any sitting of the Assembly unless he has taken and subscribed before the Assembly the oath of allegiance prescribed in the Third Schedule.

[Amended 1/96]

  1. Sessions

 

(1)   The sessions of the Assembly shall be held in such place and begin at such time as the President by Proclamation may appoint:

Provided that the place at which any session of the Assembly is to be held may be altered from time to time during the course of the session by further Proclamation made by the President.

(2)   A session of the Assembly shall be held from time to time so that a period of 12 months shall not intervene between the last sitting of the Assembly in one session and its first sitting in the next session.

(3)   The President may address the Assembly at the first sitting of every session.

(4) Writs for a general election of members of the Assembly shall be issued within 60 days of the date of any dissolution of Parliament and a session of the Assembly shall be appointed to commence within 30 days of the date prescribed for polling at any general election.

[Amended 2/82; 48/91]

  1. Prorogation and dissolution of Parliament

 

(1)   The President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may at any time prorogue or dissolve Parliament:

Provided that –

(a) where the Assembly passes a resolution that it has no confidence in the Government and the Prime Minister does not within 3 days either resign from his office or advise the President to dissolve Parliament within 7 days or at such later time as the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment, may consider reasonable, the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment, may dissolve Parliament;

(b) where the office of Prime Minister is vacant and the President considers that there is no prospect of his being able within a reasonable time to appoint to that office a person who can command the support of a majority of the members of the Assembly, the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment, may dissolve Parliament.

(2)  Parliament unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for 5 years from the date of the first sitting of the Assembly after any general election and shall then stand dissolved.

(3)   At any time when Mauritius is at war, Parliament may from time to time extend the period of 5 years specified in subsection (2) by not more than 12 months at a time:

Provided that the life of Parliament shall not be extended under this subsection for more than 5 years.

(4)   At any time when there is in force a Proclamation by the President declaring, for the purposes of section 19(7)(b), that a state of public emergency exists, Parliament may from time to time extend the period of 5 years specified in subsection (2) by not more than 6 months at a time:

Provided that the life of Parliament shall not be extended under this subsection for more than one year.

(5) Where, after a dissolution and before the holding of the election of members of the Assembly, the Prime Minister advises the President that, owing to the existence of a state of war or of a state of emergency in Mauritius or any part thereof, it is necessary to recall Parliament, the President shall summon the Parliament that has been dissolved to meet.

(6)  Unless the life of Parliament is extended under subsection (3) or subsection (4), the election of members of the Assembly shall proceed, notwithstanding the summoning of Parliament under subsection (5) and the Parliament that has been recalled shall, if not sooner dissolved, again stand dissolved on the day before the day prescribed for polling at that election.

[Amended 2/82; 48/91]

CHAPTER VI – THE EXECUTIVE

  1. Executive authority of Mauritius

 

(1)   The executive authority of Mauritius is vested in the President.

(2)    Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, that authority may be exercised by the President either directly or through officers subordinate to him.

(3)   Nothing in this section shall preclude persons or authorities, other than the President, from exercising such functions as may be conferred upon them by any law.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Ministers

 

(1)  There shall be a Prime Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister who shall be appointed by the President.

(2)  There shall be, in addition to the offices of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Attorney-General, such other offices of Minister of the Government as may be prescribed by Parliament or, subject to any law, established by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister:

Provided that the number of offices of Minister, other than the Prime Minister, shall not be more than 24.

(3)   The President, acting in his own deliberate judgment, shall appoint as Prime Minister the member of the Assembly who appears to him best able to command the support of the majority of the members of the Assembly, and shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint the Deputy Prime Minister, the Attorney-General and the other Ministers from among the members of the Assembly:

 Provided that –

(a) where occasion arises for making an appointment while Parliament is dissolved, a person who was a member of the Assembly immediately before the dissolution may be appointed; and

(b) a person may be appointed Attorney-General, notwithstanding that he is not (or, as the case may be, was not) a member of the Assembly.

[Amended 2/82; 37/91; 48/91]

  1. Tenure of office of Ministers

 

(1)  Where a resolution of no confidence in the Government is passed by the Assembly and the Prime Minister does not within 3 days resign from his office, the President shall remove the Prime Minister from office unless, in pursuance of section 57(1), Parliament has been or is to be dissolved in consequence of such resolution.

(2)  Where at any time between the holding of a general election and the first sitting of the Assembly thereafter the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment, considers that, in consequence of changes in the membership of the Assembly resulting from that general election, the Prime Minister will not be able to command the support of a majority of the members of the Assembly, the President may remove the Prime Minister from office:

Provided that the President shall not remove the Prime Minister from office within the period of 10 days immediately following the date prescribed for polling at that general election unless he is satisfied that a party or party alliance in opposition to the Government and registered for the purposes of that general election under paragraph 2 of the First Schedule has at that general election gained a majority of all seats in the Assembly.

(3)   The office of Prime Minister or any other Minister shall become vacant –

 

(a) where he ceases to be a member of the Assembly otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of Parliament; or

(b) where, at the first sitting of the Assembly after any general election, he is not a member of the Assembly:

Provided that paragraph (b) shall not apply to the office of Attorney-General where the holder thereof was not a member of the Assembly on the preceding dissolution of Parliament.

(4)   The office of a Minister (other than the Prime Minister) shall become vacant –

 

(a) where the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, so directs;

(b) where the Prime Minister resigns from office within 3 days after the passage by the Assembly of a resolution of no confidence in the Government or is removed from office under subsection (1) or (2); or

(c) upon the appointment of any person to the office of Prime Minister.

(5)  Where for any period the Prime Minister or any other Minister is unable by reason of section 36(1) to perform his functions as a member of the Assembly, he shall not during that period perform any of his functions as Prime Minister or Minister, as the case may be.

[Amended 2/82; 48/91]

  1. The Cabinet

 

(1)   There shall be a Cabinet for Mauritius consisting of the Prime Minister and the other Ministers.

(2)   The functions of the Cabinet shall be to advise the President in the government of Mauritius and the Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to the Assembly for any advice given to the President by or under the general authority of the Cabinet and for all things done by or under the authority of any Minister in execution of his office.

(3)  Subsection (2) shall not apply in relation to –

 

(a) the appointment and removal from office of Ministers and Junior Ministers, the assigning of responsibility to any Minister under section 62, or the authorisation of another Minister to perform the functions of the Prime Minister during absence or illness;

(b) the dissolution of Parliament; or

(c) the matters referred to in section 75.

[Amended 2/82; 48/91; 3/96]

  1. Assignment of responsibilities to Ministers

 

The President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may, by directions in writing, assign to the Prime Minister or any other Minister responsibility for the conduct (subject to this Constitution and any other law) of any business of the Government, including responsibility for the administration of any department of Government.

[Amended 48/91; 3/96]

  1. Performance of functions of Prime Minister during absence or illness

 

(1) Where the Prime Minister is absent from Mauritius or is by reason of illness or of section 60(5) unable to perform the functions conferred on him by this Constitution, the President may, by directions in writing, authorise the Deputy Prime Minister or, in his absence, some other Minister to perform those functions (other than the functions conferred by this section) and that Minister may perform those functions until his authority is revoked by the President.

(2)  The powers of the President under this section shall be exercised by him in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister:

Provided that where the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment, considers that it is impracticable to obtain the advice of the Prime Minister owing to the Prime Minister´s absence or illness, or where the Prime Minister is unable to tender advice by reason of section 60(5), the President may exercise those powers without that advice and in his own deliberate judgment.

[Amended 2/82; 48/91]

  1. Exercise of President´s functions

 

(1)   In the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or any other law, the President shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet except in cases where he is required by this Constitution to act in accordance with the advice of, or after consultation with, any person or authority other than the Cabinet or in his own deliberate judgment.

(2)   The President may request the Cabinet to reconsider any advice tendered by it and shall act in accordance with such advice as may be tendered by the Cabinet after such reconsideration.

(3)  Where the President so requests, the Prime Minister shall submit for the consideration of the Cabinet any matter on which a policy decision has been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by the Cabinet.

(4)  Where the President is directed by this Constitution to exercise any function after consultation with any person or authority other than the Cabinet, he shall not be obliged to exercise that function in accordance with the advice of that person or authority.

(5)  (a)  Subject to paragraphs (b) and (c), where the President is required by this Constitution to act in accordance with the advice of or after consultation with any person or authority, the question whether in fact he has so acted shall not be called in question in any court of law.

(b) Where the President dissolves Parliament otherwise than under the proviso to section 57, the Prime Minister, may by motion, request the Supreme Court to enquire into the decision.

(c)  Upon the hearing of a motion under paragraph (b), the Supreme Court shall determine whether or not the President has acted in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister and where the Supreme Court declares that the President has not acted in accordance with such advice the dissolution of the Parliament shall, subject to section 57(2), have no effect.

(6) During any period in which the office of Leader of the Opposition is vacant by reason that there is no such opposition party as is referred to in section 73(2)(a) and the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment, is of the opinion that no member of the Assembly would be acceptable to the leaders of the opposition parties for the purposes of section 73(2)(b) or by reason that there are no opposition parties for the purposes of that section, the operation of any provision of this Constitution shall, to the extent that it requires the President, the Prime Minister or the Public Service Commission to consult the Leader of the Opposition, be suspended.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. President to be kept informed

 

The Prime Minister shall keep the President fully informed concerning the general conduct of the government of Mauritius and shall furnish the President with such information as he may request with respect to any particular matter relating to the government of Mauritius.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Junior Ministers

 

(1) Subject to this section, the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may appoint Junior Ministers from among the members of the Assembly to assist Ministers in the performance of their duties.

(2) The number of Junior Ministers shall not exceed 10.

(3) Where occasion arises for making appointments while the Assembly is dissolved, a person who was a member of the Assembly immediately before the dissolution may be appointed as a Junior Minister.

(4)  The office of a Junior Minister shall become vacant –

 

(a) where the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, so directs;

(b) where the Prime Minister resigns from office within 3 days after the passage by the Assembly of a resolution of no confidence in the Government or is removed from office under section 60(1) or (2);

(c) upon the appointment of a person to the office of Prime Minister;

(d) where the holder of the office ceases to be a member of the Assembly otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of Parliament; or

(e) where at the first sitting of the Assembly after any election, the holder of the office is not a member of the Assembly.

(5) Where for any period a Junior Minister is unable by reason of section 36(1) to perform his functions as a Member of the Assembly, he shall not during that period perform any of his functions as a Junior Minister.

[Amended 3/96]

  1. Oaths to be taken by Ministers and Junior Ministers

 

A Minister or a Junior Minister shall not enter upon the duties of his office unless he has taken and subscribed the oath of allegiance and such oath for the due execution of his office as is prescribed by the Third Schedule.

[Amended 2/82; 3/96]

  1. Direction of Government departments

 

Where any Minister has been charged with responsibility for the administration of any department of Government, he shall exercise general direction and control over that department and, subject to such direction and control, any department in the charge of a Minister (including the office of the Prime Minister or any other Minister) shall be under the supervision of a Permanent Secretary or of some other supervising officer whose office shall be a public office:

Provided that –

(a) any such department may be under the joint supervision of 2 or more supervising officers; and

(b) different parts of any such department may respectively be under the supervision of different supervising officers.

  1. Attorney-General

 

(1)  There shall be an Attorney-General who shall be principal legal adviser to the Government of Mauritius.

(2)  The office of Attorney-General shall be the office of a Minister.

(3)   No person shall be qualified to hold the office of Attorney-General unless he is entitled to practise as a barrister in Mauritius, and no person who is not a member of the Assembly shall be qualified to hold the office if he is for any cause disqualified from membership of the Assembly:

Provided that a person may hold the office of Attorney-General notwithstanding that he holds or is acting in a public office (not being the office of Director of Public Prosecutions).

 (4)   Where the person holding the office of Attorney-General is not a member of the Assembly, he shall be entitled to take part in the proceedings of the Assembly, and this Constitution and any other law shall apply to him as if he were a member of the Assembly:

Provided that he shall not be entitled to vote in the Assembly.

(5)   Where the person holding the office of Attorney-General is for any reason unable to exercise the functions conferred upon him by or under any law, those functions may be exercised by such other person, being a person entitled to practise as a barrister in Mauritius (whether or not he is a member of the Assembly), as the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may direct.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Secretary to Cabinet

 

(1)   There shall be a Secretary to Cabinet whose office shall be a public office.

(2)   The Secretary to Cabinet shall be responsible, in accordance with such instructions as may be given to him by the Prime Minister, for arranging the business for, and keeping the minutes of, the Cabinet or any of its committees and for conveying the decisions of the Cabinet or any of its committees to the appropriate person or authority, and shall have such other functions as the Prime Minister may direct.

  1. Commissioner of Police

 

(1)   There shall be a Commissioner of Police whose office shall be a public office.

(2)   The Police Force shall be under the command of the Commissioner of Police.

(3)   The Prime Minister, or such other Minister as may be authorised in that behalf by the Prime Minister, may give to the Commissioner of Police such general directions of policy with respect to the maintenance of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary and the Commissioner shall comply with such directions or cause them to be complied with.

(4)  Nothing in this section shall be construed as precluding the assignment to a Minister of responsibility under section 62 for the organisation, maintenance and administration of the Police Force, but the Commissioner of Police shall be responsible for determining the use and controlling the operations of the force and, except as provided in subsection (3), the Commissioner shall not, in the exercise of his responsibilities and powers with respect to the use and operational control of the force, be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.

  1. Director of Public Prosecutions

 

(1)  There shall be a Director of Public Prosecutions whose office shall be a public office and who shall be appointed by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.

(2)   No person shall be qualified to hold or act in the office of Director or Public Prosecutions unless he is qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

(3)   The Director of Public Prosecutions shall have power in any case in which he considers it desirable so to do –

 

(a) to institute and undertake criminal proceedings before any court of law (not being a court established by a disciplinary law);

(b) to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other person or authority; and

(c) to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by himself or any other person or authority.

(4)   The powers of the Director of Public Prosecutions under subsection (3) may be exercised by him in person or through other persons acting in accordance with his general or specific instructions.

(5)   The powers conferred upon the Director of Public Prosecutions by subsection (3)(b) and (c) shall be vested in him to the exclusion of any other person or authority:

Provided that, where any other person or authority has instituted criminal proceedings, nothing in this subsection shall prevent the withdrawal of those proceedings by or at the instance of that person or authority at any stage before the person against whom the proceedings have been instituted has been charged before the court.

(6)   In the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by this section, the Director of Public Prosecutions shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.

(7)   For the purposes of this section, any appeal from any determination in any criminal proceedings before any court, or any case stated or question of law reserved for the purposes of any such proceedings to any other court, shall be deemed to be part of those proceedings:

Provided that the power conferred on the Director of Public Prosecutions by subsection (3)(c) shall not be exercised in relation to any appeal by a person convicted in any criminal proceedings or to any case stated or question of law reserved except at the instance of such a person.

  1. Leader of Opposition

 

(1) There shall be a Leader of the Opposition who shall be appointed by the President.

(2)   Where the President has occasion to appoint a Leader of the Opposition, he shall in his own deliberate judgment appoint –

 

(a) where there is one opposition party whose numerical strength in the Assembly is greater than the strength of any other opposition party, the member of the Assembly who is the leader in the Assembly of that party; or

(b) where there is no such party, the member of the Assembly whose appointment would, in the judgment of the President, be most acceptable to the leaders in the Assembly of the opposition parties:

Provided that, where occasion arises for making an appointment while Parliament is dissolved, a person who was a member of the Assembly immediately before the dissolution may be appointed Leader of the Opposition.

(3)   The office of the Leader of the Opposition shall become vacant –

 

(a) where, after any general election, he is informed by the President that the President is about to appoint another person as Leader of the Opposition;

(b) where, under section 36(1), he is required to cease to perform his functions as a member of the Assembly;

(c) where he ceases to be a member of the Assembly otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of Parliament;

(d) where, at the first sitting of the Assembly after any general election, he is not a member of the Assembly; or

(e) where his appointment is revoked under subsection (4).

(4)  Where the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment, considers that a member of the Assembly, other than the Leader of the Opposition, has become the leader in the Assembly of the opposition party having the greatest numerical strength in the Assembly or, as the case may be, the Leader of the Opposition is no longer acceptable as such to the leaders of the opposition parties in the Assembly, the President may revoke the appointment of the Leader of the Opposition.

(5)   For the purposes of this section, 'opposition party' means a group of members of the Assembly whose number includes a leader who commands their support in opposition to the Government.

[Amended 2/82; 48/91]

73A. ---

  1. Constitution of offices

 

Subject to this Constitution and any other law, the President may constitute offices for Mauritius, make appointments to any such office and terminate any such appointment.

[Amended 48/91]

  1. Prerogative of mercy

  2.  

    (1)   The President may –

     

    (a) grant to any person convicted of any offence a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions;

    (b) grant to any person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period, of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for any offence;

    (c) substitute a less severe form of punishment for any punishment imposed on any person for any offence; or

    (d) remit the whole or part of any punishment imposed on any person for an offence or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the State on account of any offence.

    (2) There shall be a Commission on the Prerogative of Mercy (referred to in this section as 'the Commission') consisting of a chairman and not less that 2 other members appointed by the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment.

    (3)   A member of the Commission shall vacate his seat on the Commission –

     

    (a) at the expiration of any term of appointment specified in the instrument of his appointment; or

    (b) where his appointment is revoked by the President, acting in his own deliberate judgment.

    (4)   In the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by subsection (1), the President shall act in accordance with the advice of the Commission.

    (5)   The validity of the transaction of business by the Commission shall not be affected by the fact that some person who was not entitled to do so took part in the proceedings.

    (6)  Where any person has been sentenced to death (otherwise than by a court martial) for an offence, a report on the case by the judge who presided at the trial (or, where a report cannot be obtained from that judge, a report on the case by the Chief Justice), together with such other information derived from the record of the case or elsewhere as may be required by or furnished to the Commission shall be taken into consideration at a meeting of the Commission which shall then advise the President whether or not to exercise his powers under subsection (1) in that case.

    (7)   This section shall not apply in relation to any conviction by a court established under the law of a country other than Mauritius that has jurisdiction in Mauritius in pursuance of arrangements made between the Government of Mauritius and another Government or an international organisation relating to the presence in Mauritius of members of the armed forces of that other country or in relation to any punishment imposed in respect of any such conviction or any penalty or forfeiture resulting from any such conviction.

    [Amended 48/91]

    CHAPTER VI A

    75 A    The Rodrigues Regional Assembly

     

    (1) There shall be a Regional Assembly for Rodrigues to be known as "the Rodrigues Regional Assembly". in this Chapter referred to as "the Regional Assembly".

    (2) The Regional Assembly shall consist of a Chairperson, who need not be an elected member of the Regional Assembly, and such other members elected and holding office on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed.

    75B. Powers of the Regional Assembly

     

    (1) Subject to the Constitution, the Regional Assembly -

     

    (a) shall have such powers and functions as may be prescribed and, in particular, the power to propose and adopt Bills in relation to the matters for which it shall be responsible, which Bills, when adopted by Parliament in such manner as may be prescribed, shall be known as Regional Assembly Laws and shall be so designated in the Short Title;

    (b) may make regulations which shall be known as Regional Assembly Regulations and shall be so designated in the Heading.

    (2) Regional Assembly Laws and Regional Assembly Regulations shall apply only to Rodrigues.

    75C. Executive Council 

     

    (1) There shall be an Executive Council of the Regional Assembly comprising of the Chief Commissioner and Deputy Chief Commissioner and such number of Commissioners as may be prescribed.

    (2) The Chief Commissioner and the Deputy Chief Commissioner and the Commissioners shall be elected or appointed in such manner as may be prescribed.

    (3) The Chief Commissioner and the other Commissioners shall have such powers and exercise such functions as may be prescribed.

    75D. Rodrigues Capital and Consolidated Funds  

    There is established -

     

    (a) a Fund to be known as "the Rodrigues Capital Fund" which shall consist of such funds as may be specified for the purposes of development;

    (b) a Fund to be known as the "Rodrigues Consolidated Fund" which shall consist of -

         (i) such monies as may every year be appropriated by the National assembly for the recurrent expenditure of the Regional Assembly;

        (ii) such other recurrent revenue as the Regional Assembly may lawfully collect.

    75E. Alteration of certain written laws

     

    Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, any law giving effect to this Chapter and to any matters incidental thereto shall not be altered without the concurrence of the Regional Assembly unless such alteration is supported at the final voting in the National Assembly by the votes of not less than two thirds of all the members.

    [Added 32/01]


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