JSC defends process of recruiting new CJ, DCJ

Kenya Supreme Court
Kenya Supreme Court

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has said it did not flout any law in the commencement of a recruitment process for the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Supreme Court judge.

The commission said that the shortlisting process was above par and in line with the JSC Act.

JSC’s Secretary Anne Amadi said the case by Yash Pal Ghai and Trusted Society of Human Rights Alliance should be dismissed, saying there are no valid grounds that have been advanced as to why the commission should be restrained from going on with the recruitment process.

Amadi argued that the Supreme Court plays an important role in Kenyans constitutional set up and does not have quorum to hear and determine matters before it until it is properly constituted.

It is her argument that the court ought not to permit the petitioners to hold the entire country at ransom when there are no legitimate grounds upon which the process is challenged.

“It is in the public interest that the said exercise is concluded as expeditiously as possible as the Judiciary, an important arm of the government, needs to have a head in the CJ and DCJ,” said Amadi.

She further noted that the commission duly observed and complied with all the applicable administrative procedures as stipulated in the Constitution and the Act to ensure a fair and just process in scrutinising and reaching the list of successful candidates who have been scheduled for interviews from August 29 this year.

JSC was making an application in response to a case filed by the Trusted Society of Human Rights Alliance in Nakuru. They were however directed to appear in Nairobi where a similar application had been filed by Yash Pal Ghai.

The two cases have since been consolidated as they raise similar issues.

Amadi further argues that the applicant must first demonstrate how that specific information is relevant to enforcement of his rights, which has been or is threatened with breach. The petitioners have failed to discharge this legal requirement.

“The right to information under Article 35 of the Constitution is not absolute as the same is subject to reasonable limitation as contained in Article 31 as read together with regulation 5 of the Fifth Schedule to the act,” she says.

In the case, Ghai wants JSC compelled to provide information on the criteria used to shortlist candidates for the positions of CJ, DCJ and Supreme Court judge.

Ghai, who is Katiba Institute director, has accused the commission of denying the public crucial information on how candidates were recruited and termed it a violation of the law.

He has also accused JSC of failing to facilitate accountability and the transparent administration of justice.

The case will be heard on the 29th of August.

Meanwhile the court will Tuesday rule on whether a group by the name Article 19 will be enjoined as amicus curiae in the case or not.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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