Nur Janti, Jakarta – The Constitutional Court's ethics council is to start questioning all nine members of the bench on Monday in connection with irregularities in the court's decision late last year to uphold the dismissal of court justice Aswanto, which has led to heightened public scrutiny.
Public interest in the case grew last month after petitioner Zico Leonard pointed out discrepancies between the version of the court opinion that was read out in November and the written copy issued later on its website.
Former court justice I Dewa Gede Palguna, who currently sits as a member of the court's ethics council, said his team would begin to question the justices on Monday evening so as not to interfere with trials scheduled at the court. He also said the hearings would be closed to the public.
Within the past week, the council has gathered information from a court official, Achmad Dodi Haryadi, and two court registrars, Wiryanto and Nurlidya Stephanny Hikmah, regarding the mismatch in the ruling.
Palguna said all the information gathered from the initial probe would be brought to the hearing on Monday to determine whether there was an intention to amend the ruling. After that, the ethics council will decide whether justices were involved in the court-ruling discrepancies.
"We will begin to study and verify all the information we have obtained," he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The discrepancy centers on the use of the term "therefore" in the court's opinion, read out by Justice Saldi Isra. This differed from the phrase "in the future" that appeared in the official copy of the document, which throws doubt on the credibility of the ruling.
Zico, a lawyer by trade, said that he discovered it in early January when comparing the two versions of the ruling to a petition he filed in October, not long after the House of Representatives voted to dismiss Aswanto, despite major doubts as to its authority to do so. The House was widely accused of legislative overreach in the justice's removal.
The petitioner had lost his case, which called for actively serving justices to be granted protection from dismissal for reasons outside those enumerated in the law, such as death, criminal conviction or a breach of ethics.
Aswanto's removal was widely seen as being politically motivated. The former justice was notable for his role in invalidating the government's flagship 2020 Job Creation Law.