QUESTION OF THE DAY
Foroyaa has been searching for copies of the regulations on COVID-19 without any success.
The National Publishing authority has not been able to provide Foroyaa with its copies of the Gazette even though the paper is a subscriber. The Constitution and the Interpretation Act are very clear why Laws do not come into force until they are published in the Gazette.
There must be prima facie evidence that a law exists. The only way to prove that it exists is to show a copy of the Gazette. Needless to say, the only reason why it is claimed that ignorance of the law is no excuse is the presumption that one could know the law if one is desirous of finding the text and reading it. Where the text cannot be found, ignorance of the law should be seen to be the fault of the state.
Section 100 of the Constitution provides for Publication of Acts in the Gazette before they could become Law. The provisions state as follows:
(5) A Bill which has been duly passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President shall become law as an Act of the National Assembly and the words of enactment shall be: “Enacted by the President and the National Assembly”.
(6) The President shall cause Acts of the National Assembly to be published in the Gazette within thirty days of assent.
(7) No Act of the National Assembly shall come into operation until it has been published in the Gazette, but the Act or some other Act of the National Assembly may provide for the postponement of its coming into force.”
Furthermore, according to the interpretation Act and Standing Order 80 of the National Assembly Subsidiary legislations, regulations must be published in the Gazette.
Publication in the Gazette is mandatory and the Attorney general office should investigate and provide remedy for the gap. The regulations may be accessible to his office but not to the Public.