Seychelles Supreme Court Quashes Praslin Land Use Plan
The dubious Baie St. Anne Land Use Plan passed they the National Assembly Three (3) years ago, has been Quashed in full by the Chief Justice of Seychelles Supreme Court Honorable Justice Mathilda Twomey in a landmark case Talma Vs. Minister of Land Use Planning ( Christian Lionnet).
The case held all Praslin landowners waiting with baited breath for Two years since the Baie St. Anne Land Use Plan reduced vast properties to nothing but " Reserves" on private lands without Fair and Just Compensation by the Government of Seychelles numerous opponents to the government like the Gill Family, Verlaque Family, Talma Family , Lesperance family suffered.
In material part, the Supreme Court in so far as all land use plans are concerned including Mahe , Praslin, La Digue, ruled across the Board-
1. All decisions relating to property rights under Article 26 of the Constitution of Seychelles at the administrative level must be: 1. Legal, 2. Reasonable, 3. Fair, 4. Rational, 5. Proportionate in decision, implementation, execution.
This means the MLUH cannot legally restrict use of property held by private persons unless these conditions have been met in full. Clearly this has not been the case with the Praslin Land Use Plan, going over the details is not imperative at this time.
Suffice to say, this Judgment now opens the door to a tumultuous amount of potential suits if the Minister of Lands does not respect the judgment of the Supreme Court of Seychelles. Property owners are now free to claim damages over the restrictions endured for Three (3) years.
2. The Supreme Court highlighted that Subsidiary legislation that restrict constitutionally protected Property Rights, must be drafted with strict controls to not overstep on the property rights protected by the Constitution of Seychelles.
3. While Notice in the gazette of the Praslin land Use Plan was published, the court found that no plan was ever made available to the Public for inspection.
The Judge said( she) : "has the distinct impression that the creation of the Plan was not in Good Faith and in the National Interest but rather by stealth and other motives."
"I am left with no doubt after reviewing the administrative files with the knowledge that not all the files were submitted to the Court ( by MLUH) after being so ordered. The court cases linked to this review (reveal) the Minister has indeed been unreasonable in his decisions."
4. Judge held that density restrictions were so arbitrary and prejudicial she said: " without a shadow of a doubt, the decision on density is not only arbitrary,but also preposterous" .
To properly make her point, Justice Twomey cites Justice Diplock's ruling on a similar case saying:
" So outrageous in its defiance of logic, or accepted moral standards, that no sensible person who had applied his mind, to the question could have arrived at this conclusion." ( Emphasis Provided)
Hence Justice Twomey concludes: the Ministers perusal of density requirements, the Land Use Plan was neither legal, Reasonable, Fair,Rational, or Proportionate.
5. Chief Justice orders the Praslin Land Use Plan quashed and orders the MLUH to return back to the 1997 Land Use Policies in place, to approve development plans on Praslin, and all of Seychelles.
Source: Freeseychellesnow.blogspot.com 1-16-16
It seems to me Mathilda is walking the talk and has decided to apply the law, and ready to bring oders in this country. If that is her objective, then she will have the people support and be respected. I am sure Michel is worr, and asking if his choosing of Mathilda was the right option .
Anonymous January 16, 2016
Mathilda is a victory for Michel's legacy for taking a bold democratic move to appoint - 1 a qualified person as CJ, 2. a Seyxhelloise.
We must give credit to James Michel.
Naturally Michel never dreamed he would be facing a Petition for a 3 rd round.
But being the protector of Democracy he insist he is, we can rest assure, James Michel will accept a 3 round if called to do so by the Courts.
It is the only option for a man who has " written so much" on Democracy.
The judgments of the courts will be a minor matter in the history of Seychelles, though a big deal this year.
Michel came in well, he needs to organize a honorable exit, with dignity, and keep the nation intact and united more then ever.
The Opposition must give him the chance to do the right thing at the right time, but keep one eye North and one eye South.
But time waits for no one. Michel is not an exception. He is running very short on time. He is counting days by 100 at a time now.
Sesel Pou Seselwa!
Christopher Gill January 16, 2016
I have no doubt that justice Mathilda will bring a fresh start to the court. The fresh start has begun.
Anonymous January 16, 2016
Kudos and big congratulations to Chief Justice Towmey in her thinking that is reasonable and fair and represents the frustration of the people. Being in real estate, I had a very hard time to explain to land owners how land can just be categorised without proper and fair thinking and my own piece of land being affected. Furthermore, planning makes decisions so slowly and unfairly for other developments being requested.
I hope that there is a mechanism in future to stop having decisions unilaterally by the government by people who do not consult other respected authorities, the public and appropriate parties before making a decision, and then the people have to spend years to try to correct it. As a real estate agent, I have never had a single meeting with the board and few other agent are even interested in the interest of the industry for the people. Who is interested in what we have to say?
I even informed owners on my home page to be aware of these so called land use plans as it affects the value of their property.
It is long overdue and I hope that we can move forward in the right direction. There is a lot more to be done.
January 17, 2016