An Act of Parliament to amend the Petitions to Parliament (Procedure) Act, 2012.

Clause 2

Amendment of section 3 of No. 22 of 2012

Section 3 of the Petitions to Parliament (Procedure) Act, 2012, (in this Act referred to as the “principal Act”) is amended:

a. in paragraph (i) by deleting the word “addresses” appearing immediately after the word “names” and substituting thereof the words “contact information, including physical addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers”;
b. in paragraph (m) by inserting the words “or a minor” immediately after the words “to sign”;
c. by renumbering the existing provision as subsection (1);
d. by inserting the following new subsection immediately after subsection (1):

(2) Despite subsection (1)(k), a petitioner shall:

a. attach evidence of the efforts made to have the matters raised in the petition addressed by a relevant body for purposes of subsection (1)(f); and
b. where the matters are pending before court, attach evidence of the court proceedings or judgment for purposes of subsection (1)(g).
The bill introduces a new sub-clause (2) that allows a petitioner to attach evidence of court proceedings for a matter pending before court.

Secondly, the addition of a petitioner’s contact information in paragraph (i) of sub-clause (1) allows for ease of:

a. tracing the petition;
b. conveying a reply to the petition; and
c. requesting clarification from the petitioner.

Thirdly, paragraph (i) incorporates the use of ICT by providing contact information like email addresses and telephone numbers which will be used to communicate with the petitioner.
Clause 3

Amendment of section 4 of No. 22 of 2012

Section 4 of the principal Act is amended:

a. by deleting subsection (3) and substituting thereof the following new subsection:

(3) the Clerk of the relevant House shall convey each petition to the relevant committee of the House responsible for ascertaining whether the petition meets the requirements of the Act.

b. by deleting subsection (4) and substituting therof the following new subsections:

(4) Where the committee determines that a petition does not comply with this Act, the committee may give such directions as are necessary to ensure that the petitioner amends the petition to comply with the Act.

(4A) The Committee may reject a petition where:

i. the issues in respect of which the petition is made are pending before any court of law or other constitutional or legal body; or
ii. the petitioner fails to comply with the directions given under subsection (4).

(4B) If satisfied that the person meets the requirements of this Act, the committee shall forward the petition to the Clerk for onward transmission to the Speaker for tabling in the House.
The new sub-clause (3) seeks to transfer the power of reviewing a petition from the Clerk to the relevant committee of the House.

Furthermore, the power to determine if a petition complies with the provisions of this bill in sub-clause (4) is transferred from the Clerk to the relevant committee of the House.
Clause 4

Repeal and replacement of section 5 of No. 22 of 2012
The principal act is amended by deleting section 5 and substituting thereof the following new section:

(5) Every petition shall upon tabling before the respective House of Parliament stand referred to the relevant committee established for the purpose of considering petitions in accordance with the Standing Orders of the House.

The committee shall, in writing, notify the petitioner of the decision of the House.
For sub-clause (2), we propose that a time period be provided for the relevant committee of the House to communicate its decision to the petitioner. We propose a period of fifteen days as this will be in line with the period prescribed in section 5(3) of the Petitions to Parliament (Procedure) Act, 2012.