News on Sunday

Maneesh Gobin : “I want to bring positive changes to the Constitution of Mauritius” 


We are celebrating the 295 years of the constitutional development of Mauritius. In this context, the Attorney General Office has launched an exhibition on the Constitution of Mauritius with the event coinciding with celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of our Independence and 26th anniversary of the Republic of Mauritius. News on Sunday puts a few questions to the Attorney-General.


Do you think that the population is aware of the content of the Constitution?
Yes, but there is room for improvement. There is a need to disseminate information about our Constitution. Free copies of the Constitution are distributed by the Attorney-General’s Office.

Those who are interested in getting a copy can easily get access to it at the AGO. The Constitution is a living instrument that all of us should profoundly cherish, respect and uphold. 

We have also seized the opportunity this year to launch the Braille version of our Constitution with the collaboration of Lois Lagesse Trust Fund. This Braille version is already available in public libraries and Municipal Council libraries. 

What is the principal mission of the Attorney-General?
The answer lies in Section 69 of the Constitution of the Republic of Mauritius. The Attorney-General is the principal legal adviser to the Government of Mauritius. The Attorney General's Office provides legal advisory and legislative drafting services to the Government.

The Attorney General's Office is the only institution that interacts with the three constitutional powers namely the Legislature (National Assembly), the Judiciary (Courts) and the Executive (Government/Ministries). The Office also provides assistance to the Courts in its capacity as ‘Ministère Public’ in addition to a number of other statutory powers vested upon it.

The office of the Attorney-General, set up under the British administration, has retained some of these functions inherited from French colonization, including those of representing the Public Ministry under the French Civil Code of 1804, which has now been modified and became the Mauritian Civil Code.

What are the other responsibilities of the Attorney-General?
The task of the Public Ministry in this Code is to intervene in all matters of interest and public order. It intervenes, in this respect, in the cases which are specifically foreseen there (request of change of name, rectification of the acts of civil status, late declaration, etc ...) or at the request of the judiciary (exemption of age, declaration of absence, adoption, succession involving a minor or a protected adult etc ...).

The Attorney-General also directly administers certain requests from members of the public (requests for bail, complaints against solicitors, lawyers, notaries or vexatious trials).

When the Attorney-General gives his legal opinion as a Public Prosecutor, he does so in the form of a report bearing the name "Conclusions of the Public Ministry." 

Is the Attorney-General the protector of the Constitution?
The Attorney-General is a creation of the Constitution! The mission of the Attorney General’s Office is to contribute in the development of a fair and just legal system and the promotion of the rule of law in the interest of the State and the people. The Attorney-General, in a democratic society, therefore stands for constitutionality based on the rule of law. 

Leftist groups want a revamped Constitution. What do you think?
I also want to bring positive changes, but it will take the time required. The 50th anniversary celebrations provide a special opportunity for in-depth reflection not only on the progress we have made but also on what we are about to make and indeed the positive changes which we ought to embrace in our pursuit of prosperity.

The exhibition is being held until 15th of June at the Beekrumsing Ramlallah Interpretation Centre at the Aapravasi Ghat, from Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 3.30 pm, and from 9.30 am to 12 pm on Saturdays.

The entrance is free. The exhibition will also be made available online for one year as from the month of June. The AGO hopes that the population will visit the exhibition to take cognizance of the rich constitutional history of Mauritius. 


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