Judges and magistrate vetting board lead by it chairman justice Sharad Rao delivering it decision on the judges and magistrate who were found unfit to serve in the Kenya judiciary.
BY SAM ALFAN.
It is a big blow to the judges and magistrates who had won their first legal battle against the Sharad Rao led vetting board.
This is after Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon stamped a final blow on the career of judges and magistrates who were found unfit to serve in the Judiciary by the Sharad Rao led vetting board.
The highest court ruled that the High court has no jurisdiction to entertain petitions filed by sacked judges and magistrates, saying the decision of the Judges and Magistrates vetting board is final and cannot be challenged.
They lifted an order which had stopped degazetting of the sacked judges, ruling that the constitution was clear that the board’s work will not be subject to any supervision from any court.
“Kenyans wanted a new judiciary they have confidence in through appointment of new judges and clean-up of those serving through the vetting process. The voice of the people cannot be silenced through any court of law,” said Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
The ruling put the final nail to the long careers of former Appellate Judges Riaga Omollo, Samuel Bosire, Joseph Nyamu and Emmanuel O’Kubassu.
Others are former High Court Judges Jean Gacheche, Mary Ang’awa, Murugi Mugo, Joyce Khaminwa, Grace Nzioka, Leonard Njagi and Muga Apondi.
The judges have been receiving their salaries and enjoying all the benefits and allowances but this has come to an end after the Supreme Court ended the long legal battle and directed that all the matters filed at the High Court challenging the board’s decision be mentioned and dismissed.
The Supreme Court in its decision ruled in favor of the board and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), who had argued that the decision by the board cannot be challenged, because the Constitution insulates the board against the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court.
Article 23 of the constitution states that quote: “a removal or a process leading to the removal of a judge from office by virtue of the operation of legislation contemplated under section 1 shall not be subject to question in, or review by any court”.
The judges had argued that the board carried out the vetting process outside the period within which it was expected to operate and went ahead to make decisions.
They argued that their mandate expired on May 2012 and no extension was sought from Parliament as required by law before continuing with the vetting exercise.
The verdict further means that the petitions at the High Court will be dismissed, the affected judges will not get their salaries like before and that the board will continue with its mandate. The Supreme Court also directed that the gazette notice stopping the decision of the board be discharged.
While delivering the verdict, Board Chairman Justice Sharad Rao said the application filed by Justice Bosire failed to indicate why he should be reinstated arguing that he did not clear the air over allegations that he showed partiality in his rulings and blocked investigations into the Goldenberg inquiry either directly or indirectly.
Bosire was accused of deliberately and flagrantly defying a High Court order to summon prominent personalities especially politicians in the Goldenberg Inquiry Commission.
The Board also said “the reasoning advanced by the Judge in support of this defiance of the court order” resulted to consequences that were later transferred to the Judiciary arm of the Government. The Board said by Bosire ignoring the court order the image of the Judiciary was injured and its confidence from the public eroded.
Turning on Justice Nyamu the board concluded that he portrayed partial reasoning in giving rulings. He was also accused of shielding top Government officials from being summoned by the commission chaired by Justice Bosire as well as acting as the State House gate keeper.
Justice Riaga Omollo, who was until his dismissal the presiding judge of the Court of Appeal, lost his appeal when the Board argued that the whole application was based on one judicial thinking point and did not contain any justification as to why he should be reinstated. In his appeal application, Justice Omollo had cited cases of discrimination by the vetting board, claims that the board dismissed.
The board also said that his appeal application did not meet requirements of section 22(2)(b) and could therefore not succeed.
The career of the long serving judicial officers in Kenya reforming judiciary was terminated by the Supreme Court today after the highest court on the land approved the vetting board decision.