Constitutional Court's rulings on Somyot's and Ekachai's petitions

The Constitutional Court has published its rulings on lese majeste defendants' petitions on whether or not the lese majeste law is in violation of the constitution. 

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The Constitutional Court deliberated on certain important cases on Wednesday, 10 October 2012, and has the rulings as follows:

The criminal court has filed two petitions of contention of defendants (Mr. Somyos Preuksakasemsuk and Mr. Ekachai or Ek Hongkangwan) in asking the Constitutional Court to examine, in accordance with Section 211 of the Constitution, whether Section 112 of the Penal Code is contrary to Section 3 paragraph two, Section 8, Section 29 and Section 45 paragraphs one and two of the Constitution or not.

Ruling Results

The Constitutional Court sees that Section 112 of the Penal Code is a provision supplementing Section 8 of the Constitution to give it a real practical effect. Therefore, there is no ground to allege that it is contrary to Section 8 of the Constitution. There are still issues for the Constitutional Court to examine whether Section 112 of the Penal is contrary to Section 3 paragraph two, Section 29 and Section 45 paragraphs one and two of the Constitution or not.

The Constitutional Court sees that the principle of Section 112 of the Penal Code is in line with providing protection to the king, an institution and head of the state of Thailand. The provision of penalty for offenders is needed to maintain public order and good morals of the people in accordance with the rule of law, which is the morality and ethics of the law. Therefore, Section 112 of the Penal Code is not contrary to the rule of law under Section 3 paragraph two of the Constitution.

Furthermore, Section 112 of the Penal Code is written in Book II Specific Offences, Title I Offences Relating to the Security of the Kingdom, Chapter 1 Offences against the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent and the Regent, a measure of the state in providing protection to the king from defamation, insult or threatening. Commission of offences under Section 112 of the Penal Code shall affect the security of the state as the king is an institution the Constitution recognizes and protects, and is part of the democratic regime of government with the King as head of the state of Thailand.

Therefore, Section 112 of the Penal Code is a legal provision relating to the security of the kingdom having the same meaning of being the law enacted for protecting the security of the state provided in Section 45 paragraph two, a condition in restricting people’s liberty in expressing opinion under Section 45 paragraph one.

The penalty stipulated in Section 112 of the Penal Code is what is necessary to allow Section 8 of the Constitution, which recognizes the status of the king, to have its absolute enforcement in practical terms.

It is also a categorization of offences appropriate and proportionate to the status of a person specified by the Penal Code.

It is also a provision generally applied, without aiming to be enforced on any specific circumstance or person, and without affecting the essential substances of people’s liberty in expressing opinion under Section 45 paragraph one, in any means, as every person shall enjoy the liberty to express opinion within the boundary of not being an offence under Section 112 of the Penal Code.

Section 112 of the Penal Code is, therefore, not contrary to Section 29 and Section 45 paragraphs one and two of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court rules unanimously that Section 112 of the Penal Code is not contrary to Section 3 paragraph two, Section 29 and Section 45 paragraphs one and two of the Constitution.

Source: http://www.constitutionalcourt.or.th/office/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=105&Itemid=4&lang=th