City lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has petitioned the East African Court of Justice challenging the Judiciary Administration Bill which concerns the retirement benefits of judicial officers, as well as the procedure in which Parliament passed 46 new constituencies.
In his petition filed before the Court Registry at Kololo Kampala, he alleges that the process and contents of the Uganda Administration of the Judiciary Act, 2020 assented to by the President on June 19, 2020, are illegal since some of its provisions contravene the constitution.
The Attorney General, who is the legal representative of Government, has been listed as the respondent.
Mabirizi has pointed out a number of sections which he seeks Court to quash and declare them null and void;
“Section 27(b) conditions grant of retirement benefits to a resigning Judicial officer to written consent of the President or Judicial Service Commission thereby undermining the principle of separation of powers and independence of the Judiciary whereby a Judge is dis-entitled from retirement benefits simply because the President or the Judicial Service Commission, whom he/she may have ruled against have not consented.”
Mabirizi also underscored Section 29 which grants retirement benefits to surviving spouse or spouses and dependent children of the deceased judicial officer for 15 years which defeats the principles of good governance, equality before the law and common sense.
“Section 20 allows Judicial officers to work in other institutions contrary to Article 128(1-2) of The Constitution which provide that In the exercise of judicial power, the courts shall be independent and shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority.”
Mabirizi says that this law creates a window for the President to compromise judges through giving them appointments in various organizations which is against the laws of Uganda.
In June this year, Parliament passed this bill which was later signed by President Yoweri Museveni and turned into law, giving clear guidelines on how judiciary will operate as well retirement benefits of judicial officers.
He went further ahead and challenged Parliament’s approval of 46 consistencies which were passed without a required quorum.
“Without debate and without suspension of Parliamentary Rules of Procedure requiring debate, and contrary to;
Article 63(2) of Uganda Constitution which requires the demarcation to be made by the Electoral Commission.
“Article 63(5) of the Uganda Constitution which requires that the Electoral Commission reviews the division of Uganda into constituencies within twelve months after the publication of results of a census of the population of Uganda and may, as a result, re-demarcate the constituencies.”
He has further asked court to grant him general damages for the disturbance and anguish caused to him as a result of Government’s actions.
On why he decided to go to East African court, Mabirizi said that it’s his right to choose where to take his matter with a hope of getting timely justice.