BY SAM ALFAN.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has welcomed two High Court Judgments delivered today on the independence of the Judicial Service Commission to pick the next Chief Justice.
In one case, the court declared amendments to the JSC Act giving the President powers to nominate the CJ from three names recommended by the JSC as unconstitutional.
LSK faulted the law, which came into effect on December 15, 2015 arguing that the amended critical sections of the Judicial Service Act interfered with the independence of the Judiciary.
LSK had moved to court to challenge the Act fascinating the JSC to recommend three names to the President instead of one as provided for previously.
Through their lawyer SC Nzamba Kitonga, LSK said “The Act, as amended, upsets the doctrine of separation of powers between the three arms of Government and should be suspended because the independence of the Judiciary is at stake,”
In the other case, the High Court declared it mandatory for the President to appoint Judges whose names have been forwarded to him by the JSC. The LSK had also moved to court in 2014 after the President delayed in appointing 14 Judges recommended by the JSC.
The LSK President Mr. Isaac Okero (pictured) said that the unanimous decision represents an important affirmation of the supremacy of the Constitution.
“It also affirms the importance of maintaining the independence of the Judiciary and in particular the integrity of the process by which the head of the Judiciary is selected,” Mr Okero said.
The LSK President also said that the time when the President exercised any latitude in the appointment of the Chief Justice is firmly behind us.
“We must all accept that we live in a new dispensation born out of years of struggle and repression and we must resist the pull of the dark years,” Mr. Okero said.
Mr Okero said that JSC must now be accorded all the support it requires to properly discharge its functions.
He assured that The Law Society of Kenya shall continue to be vigilant in the upholding the Constitution.
“We (LSK) shall also be vigilant in assisting and supporting the Government and the public in matters relating to legislation that protects and promotes the constitutional order,” Mr Okero said