By Sunday Chanda
Article 37 of the Patriotic Front Party Constitution states as follows:
(a) The Central Committee shall be responsible for discipline of the Party members. It shall hear appeals from the appointments and disciplinary committee of the Central Committee;
(b) The Central Committee shall have power to review decisions of the Appointments and Disciplinary Committee and *shall have original jurisdiction”.*
I opine that the Central Committee has both original and appellate or revisionary jurisdictions.
In its original jurisdiction it can hear and determine a disciplinary or other matter as the forum of first instance.
In its appellate or revisionary jurisdiction, it can review a matter as a forum of second instance following first instance determination by the Appointment and Disciplinary Committee.
A parallel can be drawn with the High Court’s original and its appellate jurisdiction.
Matters can be determined by the Subordinate Courts at first instance and an appeal therefrom lies to the High Court.
However, there are certain matters that can only be tried by the High Court at first instance. In such matters the High Court would be exercising original jurisdiction. Such matters are prescribed by law.
The Party Constitution does not spells out any exclusive or particular matters that can be determined by the Central Committee at first instance.
All matters of discipline fall within Central Committee’s exclusive original jurisdiction. That is to say, no other committee can hear such matters at first instance apart from the Central Committee (and disciplinary committee which acts on behalf of Central Committee).
If the Party Constitution does not spell out any particular matters that can be determined by the Central Committee on first instance, then it can be assumed that any matter can be so determined by it so long the same was not already pending determination by a subordinate committee such as the Appointment & Disciplinary Committee, in which case it would be heard on appeal.