Le jugement du Privy Council d’hier après-midi, refusant d’accorder le droit d’appel à Rezistans ek Alternativ et au Blok 104 dans l’affaire de déclaration ethnique sur le Nomination Form des candidats aux élections générales, est venu confirmer une chose : ce litige ne peut être résolu qu’en empruntant la voie de la réforme constitutionnelle. À ce stade, le conseil privé s’est refusé de se lancer dans les débats en soutenant que les instances judiciaires mauriciennes détiennent la compétence et la maîtrise des faits nécessaires pour une meilleure appréciation de ce problème d’ordre constitutionnel.
Analysant les dispositions de la Constitution autour de cet appel contre la décision rejetant 104 candidatures aux dernières élections générales faute de déclaration ethnique, les cinq Law Lords du Privy Council affirment sans ambages que « it follows that the Judicial Committee does not have jurisdiction to grant special leave and must therefore refuse the application. »
Étayant cette décision de refus d’autoriser cet appel, le Judicial Committee of the Privy Council avance deux raisons spécifiques, soit d’abord « it was accepted on behalf of the respondents that neither the failure of the applicants’ case before the judge nor the failure of this application for special leave to appeal against her decision will prevent a constitutional challenge being advanced in the future. There is no need for such a challenge to be permitted by way of appeal from the decision of the judge because, as the applicants themselves recognise, it is now too late to challenge the election of those elected as long ago as May 2010 ».
L’autre raison évoquée par le Privy Council pour se garder de se prononcer au sujet de cet appel est que cette instance ne veut nullement s’immiscer dans des sujets d’importance capitale sur le plan constitutionnel. « The Judicial Committee should not pronounce upon what are or may issues of considerable constitutional importance without having the benefit of the opinion of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal upon them. Those courts have much greater familiarity with the history and development of the voting system in Mauritius and, so far as they may be relevant, with both issues of policy and the political realities in Mauritius today. They are in a far better position than the Board, at any rate in the first instance, to grapple with such issues and to identify which issues are in truth issues of law and which are issues of policy ».
Toutefois, les Law Lords n’ont pu résister à la tentation d’aborder le fond du litige, en l’occurrence la nécessité d’abolir le best loser system et se sont appesantis sur la piste de la réforme constitutionnelle en vue de trouver une solution à ce problème. « The true complaint that the applicants have is that the best loser system is wrong in principle and should be abolished. There may be strong grounds for advancing such a contention », soutient le Privy Council.
« It has been plain to the Board from the argument that the question whether the best loser system should be retained has given rise to much political and perhaps legal debate over the years. It is now some years since Seetulsingh J said that he understood that a project of electoral reform was on the cards. The Board was told much the same. It is perhaps obvious that it would be much better for these issues to be decided as a result of political debate and, if necessary, constitutional reform than through the courts », ajoutent les Law Lords anglais.
Toutefois, le Privy Council n’écarte pas la possibilité que cette instance soit saisie de cette même affaire à l’avenir faute de solution politique. « The Board understands that the applicants wish to say that their existing constitutional rights have been infringed but does not think it right to reach any firm conclusions on the merits. It appreciates that, if the issues cannot be resolved politically, they may be raised before the Judicial Committee in the future », appréhendent les Law Lords.