www.fijitimes.com - Saturday, October 25, 2008
THE Supreme Court has granted Ratu Joni Satala special leave to appeal against a Fiji Court of Appeal decision which refused him a chiefly tile.
The Turaga Taukei Vidilo title is before the courts to determine a rightful successor.
The court heard the dispute arose between Ratu Joni and Ratu Viliame Bouwalu following the death of Ratu Malelili Naulivou in 1999.
The FCA ruled the Native Lands and Fisheries Commission decided that further time be given to Ratu Viliame and Ratu Nacanieli to prepare them for the position of leadership.
The commission confirmed the chiefly position properly belongs to them but it is also satisfied that neither of them received sufficient support from the members of the tokatoka Navitua, mataqali Vidilo in Namoli. The commission declared Ratu Malelili should assume the position of Taukei Vidilo but in an acting capacity.
Ratu Nacanieli and Ratu Viliame applied to the High Court for a judicial review on that decision but this was refused. The 1991 decision of the commission stood and Ratu Malelili held the title until his death.
Ratu Nacanieli died during the lifetime of Ratu Malelili and on the latter's death the only claimant from the elder branch was Ratu Viliame. However, Ratu Joni, the eldest son of Ratu Malelili, also claimed the title.
The commission confirmed that since Ratu Viliame is alive, it was correct for him to take leadership.
Granting the appeal, the Supreme Court ruled Ratu Joni is a privy in blood and interest of his father.