8 July 2022
Administrative Court refusing to hear case filed by insured workers pursuant to Section 33 Migrant workers and stateless persons suing authorities concerning “Section 33, We Love Each Other” scheme, court citing expiry of statute of limitations and not being stakeholders
On 30 June 2022, the authorized attorneys have received a letter from the Central Administrative Court regarding the case filed by migrant workers and stateless persons who are insured according to Section 33 of the Social Security Act B.E. 2533 against the Social Security Office (SSO), the Ministry of Labour (MoL), the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Loan Use Oversight Committee, and the cabinet. The five defendants have been accused of executing their administrative power to cause an abuse of power or an abuse of administrative order as a result of the launch of the Section 33, We Love Each Other scheme to offer a cash handout aiming to address the need, remedy and compensate the public, farmers and employers who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic pursuant to the Emergency Decree Authorising the Ministry of Finance to Raise Loans to Solve Problems, to Remedy And Restore the Economy and Society as Affected by the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic (for more detail, please see http://hrdfoundation.org/?p=2766 )
In its letter, the Central Administrative Court informs us that it refuses to hear the case and has disposed it off as the Red Case no. 1186/2565. In so doing, the Central Administrative Court reasons that;
1.The Emergency Decree Authorising the Ministry of Finance to Raise Loans to Solve Problems, to Remedy And Restore the Economy and Society as Affected by the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic, B.E. 2563 (2020) appears to be a rule which applies in general. Any challenge to it has to be made within 90 days since the initial cause of the suit was known. (from June to 5 September 2021.)
2.Representatives of the persons insured pursuant to Section 33 who have filed the case are not considered stakeholders who are entitled to request to revoke the cabinet resolution on 15 February 2022’s (16) on the review of matters by the defendant no. 4 (the Loan Use Oversight Committee) in its meeting no. 6/2564 and the cabinet resolution on 11 May 2021’s (17) on the outcome of the review of matters by the defendant no. 4 during the meeting no. 15 since it was a internal issue between the defendant no. 5 (the cabinet) and the defendant no. 1 (the Office of Social Security), the defendant no. 2 (Ministry of Labour) and the defendant no. 3 (Ministry of Finance) which are public agencies involved with the Section 33, We Love Each Other scheme. It has no direct bearing on the rights and duties of the persons insured pursuant to Section 33 of the Social Security Act B.E. 2533. Therefore, both petitioners are not considered persons who have suffered from or may suffer from or are being inevitably affected.
Pasuta Chuenkhachorn, attorney of the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), opines that since the launch of the Section 33, We Love Each Other scheme to mitigate impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic, migrant workers and stateless persons insured pursuant to Section 33 of the Social Security Act B.E. 2533 have filed complaints to state grievance mechanisms including the Ombudsman, which is a constitutional independent regular mechanism, and the Constitutional Court. Still, the affected workers are deprived of access to their rights. After reviewing the complaint, the Ombudsman has found the Ministry of Labour’s scheme did not constitute an unjust discrimination while, the Constitutional Court has found the Section 33, We Love Each Other scheme has been made possible by a cabinet resolution, and therefore it was an action enabled by an administrative act, and thus the case should fall under jurisdiction of other courts.
While the filing of complaint and its subsequent review has taken time, the complainants are entitled to no power to intervene in such procedure or to ask for its expedition. Now, they have turned to the Administrative Court to seek just and pinned their hope on this as their last resort. But the court has refused to hear their case citing the expiry of the statute of limitations which require that the case be filed within 90 days. This is therefore unjust to the petitioners who are ordinary persons and are seeking justice through state mechanisms. The plaintiffs in this case will continue their fight by appealing the order of the Central Administrative Court to refuse to hear the case.
For more detail, please contact: Pasuda Chinkhachon, Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF), phone 0815957578, email [email protected]