The Western Cape High Court has dismissed an urgent application to force a parliamentary debate on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
In his ruling on Thursday afternoon, Judge Dennis Davis said there were gaps in the National Assembly rules, but found it was not for the court to dictate to Parliament.
The application was brought on Tuesday by Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko on behalf of eight opposition parties.
It sought to compel National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu to schedule the motion of a no confidence debate before Parliament went into recess.
Davis said Mazibuko had every right to table such a motion under the Constitution.
The Constitution provided that no majority had the power to subvert this right for any individual member of minority parties, who represented a section of the electorate.
But, Davis said there was a lack of a "deadlock-breaking mechanism" in the Parliamentary rules when a no confidence motion was being considered by the National Assembly programming committee.
Last week, Sisulu adjourned a programming committee meeting without the debate being scheduled, on the basis that no consensus had been reached.
In summary, Davis ruled that: "The applicant had the right to bring a motion of no confidence; that motion of no confidence should be treated as a matter of urgency; the time should have been found to have that (debate) and, the rules should be provided to ensure that the National Assembly rather than the courts makes the determination on what occurs."
The ruling effectively means the controversial debate will not take place on Thursday, which was the last sitting of the National Assembly for 2012.
The motion was brought on the grounds "that under his [Zuma's] leadership the justice system has been politicised and weakened; corruption has spiralled out of control; unemployment continues to increase, the economy is weakening, and the right of access to quality education has been violated".
The move was "mandated" by eight opposition parties, including the African Christian Democratic Party, the Azanian People's Organisation, the Congress of the People, the Freedom Front Plus, the Inkatha Freedom Party, the United Christian Democratic Party, and the United Democratic Front.
ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga earlier described the motion as frivolous and without foundation.
He and his lawyers wrote a letter to Davis, parts of which were contained in a media release on Wednesday.
In the letter, Motshekga said the ruling party would not oppose a vote of no confidence taking place in the National Assembly, but proposed it be scheduled for February next year.
Motshekga said committee meetings, oversight visits and international study tours were planned for MPs from Monday November 26 to December 7.
"Cancelling these commitments or summoning back all MPs for a special sitting would place a significant administrative, logistical and financial burden on the institution," said Motshekga.