By Ssali Babu
“As advocates who are strong /ardent believers in Rule of Law, we wish to condemn the legally” reprehensible and unjust manner in which the Supreme Court conducted itself towards hearing
M.A No.51 Of 2021 Vide Ham Enterprises Ltd & 2 Others Vs Diamond Trust Bank (U) Ltd & Anor when it declined to hear the same on grounds that there is a pending judgment that had been slated for 13th June 2023 well knowing the application had been in the queue since 2021 in addition to the fact that the court itself had called the parties for pre session hearing of the same.
We note that the application was for seeking judgment on admission to be entered and the law is seemingly clear to all and sundry per 0.13 Rule 6 CPR that a party can apply for the same at any stage before judgment which the applicant/appellant did well within his legal preview.
“That the same application was not accorded a hearing date expeditiously for reasons best known to court but when slated on the 8 June 2023 for pre-trial conference, and the applicant wanted to be heard, they and counsel were bulldozed under guise that the judgment was ready for delivery on a particular date this by itself we legally submit has no legal basis in known procedure as the right to be heard is non derogable per Art.28 and 44 of the constitution of Uganda as well as the cases of Caroline Turyatemba & 4 Others Vs Attorney General Const n Peto No.15 Of 2008 which in turn goes along with the trite law position that denying a party a right to be heard should be the last resort of court.“
We note that the Supreme Court is the highest court on the land and judicial power is derived from the people which should in turn be exercised in accordance with peoples’ norms in addition to the fact that it should be administered to all regardless of their social or economic status. Per Art.126(1) and (2)(a).
That the decision not to hear a party defies not only the constitution but the universally accepted “standards of human rights enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights to wit Art.6-7, African charter on human and peoples’ rights as well as the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community Treaty Art.6 (d) which all call for adherence” to rule of law that envisages fair hearing as cardinal principle.
For which we condemn the same in the highest terms possible since it reflects shame to the justice system in our country from the custodians of the law.
“It was once stated by PLATO that the “worst form of injustice is pretended justice” and nothing outrageous more than injustice since justice is truth in action.”
We further condemn the biased and partial statement issued by The Uganda Law Society president which in our view clearly offends the objectives of the society enshrined in the Uganda Law Society Act Section 3 (d) that mandates the society to assist the public in all matters as regards the law (herein we would have expected the society president to condemn the acts of delayed justice /not according the litigants right to be heard in the application other than throwing tantrums at them or the manner they expressed their dissatisfaction towards not being heard) also section 3 (c) thal mandates the society to ensure its members face good conditions of practice herein to wit the relevant counsel involved who have since found hardships in executing their duties to effectively represent their clients.
“Whereas we may not agree with the manner in which the litigant expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision of court, we take note that, that was an expression of conduct of a frustrated litigant who felt that his right to be heard had deliberately been infringed upon, and we ought to be alive to the fact that freedom of speech and expression is enshrined in Article 29 of the constitution.”
“That owing to the above, this statement serves to pray that the supreme court does uphold the constitutional provisions as \veil as the provisions under the United Nations Report on The Independence of The Judiciary 1985 contained in paras 2 and 3 that mandates court to determine all matters before court based on facts and impartiality to execute its duty under public good to ensure justice is accorded to the applicants as per the law since “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“That also further, it is noteworthy that “justice under the law is not merely a caption of facade of the supreme court building but the most ideal of our society .it is one of the ends for Which our entire legal system exists….indeed, its fundamental that justice should be the same in substance and availability” as once stated by justice Lewis Powell of the American supreme court in August 1976.”
“For God and our country in fight for Rule of law and fairness to accord justice to all “
The author, counsel SSALI BABU is a Legal Advisor at PARTNER S FOR EQUAL JUSTICE UGANDA of P.O. Box, 8511 Kampala, located at Block 4, Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road, Opp. Full Gospel Church” on Tel: +256-(0) 704-444198/+256-(0) 0779-414236 and Email: justicepartners4gma il.com
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