Constitution Court to rule on cooking show

The Constitution Court has agreed unanimously to deliberate an alleged breach of the constitution by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. The allegation against Mr Samak is among four cases the court accepted yesterday, including those involving whether Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsab and Deputy Commerce Minister Wiroon Techapaiboon are still qualified to be cabinet members.

The nine-member court, chaired by Chat Cholavorn, agreed to consider the four cases for rulings.

In the case against Mr Samak, the court has been asked to rule whether the prime minister's hosting of a cooking show on commercial television was in breach of the constitution.

The petition, forwarded by the Senate Speaker, was filed by a group of 29 senators.

The court has also been asked to decide whether Mr Chaiya and Mr Wiroon are still qualified to sit in the cabinet after their failure to completely declare assets to the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) when they took office.

The cases were filed separately by two groups of senators.

Another case was forwarded by the Supreme Court's Crime Division for Holders of Political Positions.

This asked the Constitution Court to decide whether the Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC) is a constitutionally acceptable body.

The ASC was set up by the coup-makers to investigate and prosecute alleged corruption by the Thaksin Shinawatra government.

The basis of the argument is that the extension of the inquiry panel's term for another nine months to the end of this month could be in violation of the constitution.

The extension of the panel's term was made when the new charter was already in place.

The charter paves the way for the setting up of independent bodies such as the NCCC and therefore it is argued the ASC should not exist.