JSC now faults Uhuru on new judges saga
What you need to know:
- Chief Registrar Anne Amadi said the judges have been subjected to unnecessary speculation on their qualifications and suitability.
- President Kenyatta wrote to the JSC saying he could not approve the list of judges sent to him by the commission as they have integrity issues.
The Judicial Service Commission on Tuesday said the delay in appointing judges is undermining the independence of the Judiciary.
Chief Registrar Anne Amadi said the judges have been subjected to unnecessary speculation on their qualifications and suitability.
According to the commission, the delay has affected timely resolution of disputes and business in the country due to the number of cases filed at the Land, Employment and Commercial courts.
President Uhuru Kenyatta wrote to the JSC saying he could not approve the list of judges sent to him by the commission as they have integrity issues.
That prompted a Nairobi-based lawyer to move to court, questioning the delay.
While pointing fingers at the President, the commission said the delay in appointing the 41 judges has aggravated the perennial problem of case backlog.
“The President’s inordinate delay to formalise the appointment of the judges undermines the constitutional role of the JSC in safeguarding and promoting independence of the Judiciary,” Ms Amadi said.
“The President has a duty to ensure the protection of rights and rule of the law. Failure to appoint the judges goes against this solemn constitutional duty. The delay in formalisation of the appointments is a departure from the right process.”
The JSC was responding to a case in which Mr Adrian Kamotho Njenga protested the delay in the promotion of judges.
PROMOTION OF JUDGES
Mr Njenga sued the Attorney General and listed the commission and Chief Justice David Maraga as interested parties.
JSC said any rejection or disapproval of people recommended for appointment by the commission would negate and subvert the independence of the Judiciary.
It added that the President’s role in the appointment and promotion of judges is purely facilitative.
In the case documents, JSC admitted there were adverse reports from the National Intelligence Service concerning some of the judges to be promoted.
According to the commission, the affected judges have not been given an opportunity to defend themselves, and no specific claims were tabled at the JSC from the NIS.
The JSC added its voice on the woes of the Judiciary following budget cuts and how these have affected the running of business.
Mr Njenga says the law stipulates that Mr Kenyatta should appoint judges of the superior courts following a recommendation from the commission. He faults him for causing an “inordinate delay”.
However, he requested the court to allow the relevant appointing authority to go ahead with what it is supposed to do.
In February, vacancies of judges in the Appellate, Environment and Lands as well as the Employment and Labour Relations courts were announced in three gazette notices.
Ten High Court judges and a lawyer, out the 35 interviewed, were recommended for promotion to the Appeals Court, twenty for Environment and Lands Court and 10 for the Employment and Labour Relations Court.