Niko Nawaikula wins case

The Court of Disputed Returns presided over by the Chief Justice Kamal Kumar and Justice Anjala Wati has ruled that the actions of the Supervisor of Elections in requiring Niko Nawaikula to give the name on his birth certificate was wrongful and that his decision to remove Nawaikula’s name from the register of voters was unlawful and disproportionate.

The ruling of the Court of Disputed Returns cannot be appealed. Click Here To View Full Ruling

The court ruled that Nawaikula’s name be reinstated with the effect from the date that the Supervisor removed his name, which is around the 21st of July.

The ruling essentially means that Nawaikula will retain his seat in Parliament – the court ruling that the Speaker of Parliament is to be advised immediately of their decision on the matter.

A member of Nawaikula’s legal team Graham Leung said they were relieved and pleased with the Court’s decision. Nawaikula’s legal team also included Jon Apted, Sevuloni Valenitabua and Simione Valenitabua.

Leung noted that the court spent a large part of its judgment discussing the Law of Names and basically the court concluded, referring to cases from other jurisdictions, that if you are known by a certain name over a long period of time by usage and reputation, that can also be your name. Not necessarily the name on your birth certificate.

The court pointed out that Niko Nawaikula was known as such on his Drivers License, his TIN number as well as in Parliament and among his peers in the legal profession.

The Court ruled that the Supervisor of Elections actions was disproportionate as there were other options available.

Photo: Parliament of Fiji

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