The petitioner should have been recalled and not given a directive. It was vehemently argued for the petitioner that the Commander-in-Chief of UPDF and the members of the High Command were wrong in directing the petitioner to resign his position as an army representative in the Parliament of Uganda. The directive was inconsistent with and contravened articles 80 and 84 of the Constitution. In reply, the learned Solicitor General submitted that the petitioner’s letter of 28/05/2005 was an effective letter of resignation, which made his seat in Parliament vacant for a number of reasons. 10 20 30 40 Firstly, there is no constitutional requirement that to be an effective resignation, it must be accompanied by reasons. To support his submissions, counsel referred the court to article 83(1) (a) of The Constitution. “(1) A member of Parliament shall vacate his or her seat in Parliament (a) if he or she resigns his or her office in writing signed by him or her and addressed to the Speaker;” Secondly, the letter fulfilled the three requirements provided under article 83(1) (a) of the Constitutionand it was, therefore, an effective letter of resignation. Before accepting the resignation, the Speaker does not have to demand to know reasons why a member of Parliament is resigning. It was submitted for the respondents that the directive of the President was not unconstitutional. We listened to the submissions and arguments advanced by counsel on both sides on this issue and we have considered them carefully. Whether the petitioner was directed or advised by the Commander-in-Chief there is no evidence to show that he was forced to write the letter of resignation to the Speaker. In any case he did not have to write it. He could have refused. He states in his letter that he was given 12 hours in which to write the letter. He wrote it voluntarily on his letterhead and sent it to the Hon. Speaker. Further, the petitioner who is a soldier, had no choice but to obey orders from the Commander-in-Chief. The fact that he wrote the letter under the directive did not affect the effectiveness of the letter to the Speaker. On the evidence before court we do not accept that the directive contravened articles 80, 83 and 84 of the Constitution. Article 80provides for qualifications and disqualifications of the members of Parliament.
Clearly, the Commander-in-Chief did not deny the fact that the petitioner had the necessary qualification for membership of Parliament. He was only displeased with his conduct. On perusal of the provisions of articles 83(1), the petitioner’s tenure of office ceased when the Speaker received the letter and accepted it. The letter amounted to a resignation because article 83(1)reads as follows:- “1. A member of Parliament shall vacate his or her seat in Parliament- 10 20 30 40 (a)If he or she resigns his or her office in writing signed by him or her and addressed to the Speaker.” The petitioner wrote a letter resigning his seat in Parliament. He addressed it to the Hon. Speaker of Parliament.
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President of the United States, Member of Parliament, Parliament of Singapore