After consultations with some Monday morning half-backs, we have come to conclude that the government is in violation of the Constitution with the enacted law targeting the Faifeaus’ peleki.
This is because under the Constitution Part II: Fundamental Rights, Section 15, subsection 1, “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection under the law”.
The basic reason is this. The peleki is a donation and there are other similar donations that this law fails to cover.
For example, all those envelopes with money, including pigs, cows and other food items as part of the suas the Koeaiigas receive in faalavelaves, are also donations. Yet, the only donation the law is targeting is the peleki! Why aren’t these suas and envelopes not considered as donations in equal classification as the peleki?
This is a in-your face example of discrimination.
There is one group of people involved here (all those who receive donations from the community as part of the culture: Faifeaus and Matais), but one group is taxed while the other is not.
By only taxing the Faifeaus’ envelopes, the government treated them different from other members of this same group who receive the same similar benefits. So in legal term, because the Faifeaus are treated different, they are therefore being discriminated against.
The core of the right to be treated equally, is about fundamental fairness. Consider this for example: the Faifeau, the Prime Minister and his whole Cabinet are in the same fa’alavelave where all receive envelopes as part of their suas. Yet, under this law, only the Faifeau’s envelope is taxed while the Prime Minister and cabinet, who all receive similar envelopes are not. Is the Faifeau being treated fair here?
Under our Constitution, all persons are equal under the law. Therefore, it is fundamentally unfair to the Faifeau to be treated different. The law is therefore facially discriminatory in application.
I strongly advise the E.F.K.S. community, if appropriate, to take this to Court.
I am not sure whether anyone has challenged a government action in the past under equal protection grounds. So this can be an educational case for all of us, as it will most definitely teach us all what these legal terms mean in our Constitution.
Stand Your Ground E.F.K.S.