Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha (Photo: npr.com)

Bangkok (VNA)
– Thailand’s Constitutional Court ruled on June 29 that the controversial Section 61 of the Referendum Act is in line with the interim charter.

In a brief announcement to the press, the court said the section, which was passed in April 2016, does not contradict the 2014 interim Constitution in terms of civil rights and freedom of speech.

Section 61 of the Referendum Act imposes heavy fines and even a prison term of up to 10 years on anyone who publishes or distributes false, rude, inciting or intimidating messages about the draft constitution and upcoming referendum.

The ruling has given the act a legal foundation against critics’ opinions.

The same day, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha told the media that if the draft prepared by the Constitution Drafting Committe fails at the referendum, the government will draw up the third new draft constitution.

The first draft constitution was refused in September 2015, delaying the general election until 2017. If the second draft meets the same fate, Thai people will have to wait for another couple of years.-VNA