JSC GIVEN THE NOD TO RECRUIT JUDGES.

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Judicial Service Commission Chairperson and Chief Justice Martha Koome

BY SAM ALFAN.

The Judicial Service Commission has been given the greenlight to recruit 26 new judges by the Court of Appeal.

The process had been stopped following an application by Katiba Institute arguing that it is illegal since President Uhuru Kenyatta has refused to swear in six judges who were successfully recruited by JSC. The judges to be recruited include six judges of the Court of Appeal and 20 High Court judges.

Appellate court judges Wanjiru Karanja, Agnes Murgor and Imaana Laibuta Chief Justice Martha Koome and JSC have successfully demonstrated that they have an arguable case.

The Judges added that it is in the public interest that the recruitment process of the much needed judges proceed uninterrupted pending the hearing and determination of the petition before the High Court.

“If the appeal herein is unsuccessful or if ultimately the recruitment process is impugned by the final Court with requisite jurisdiction, then the situation is reversible,” said the judges.

The lobby group had challenged the recruitment of new judges questioning the legal and rationale of the JSC, inviting applications, yet there is a case pending in court touching on the same matter.

The JSC argued that Justice Mrima failed to consider relevant and important material placed before him, for instance, the urgency of the matter since the process is to commence on June 20.

The commission stated that enormous resources in terms of public finances and time have been expended, and that all this will go to waste if the exercise is stopped. It is also in the public interest that Judges be recruited as there is dire need to boost the number, particularly in view of the expected election petitions which have strict timelines.

The Attorney General supported JSC pointing out that in the entire proceedings before the High Court, the power and mandate of the commission to recruit Judges has not been challenged, nor has there been any contention that the applicant had flouted or violated the provisions set out in the JSC Act in the process.

Justice Antony Mrima issued conservatory orders suspending any further action by JSC, including invitation, consideration, evaluation, deliberation or interview of application for appointment of judges.

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