High Court judge Andrew Bashaija has prohibited Parliament from reviewing court orders. In his ruling on Friday last week, Bashaija said constitutionally, Parliament and its committees have no powers to call for review or scrutiny of the decisions of courts of law.
This is after last year on August 26, the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) asked for details of the judgment of the Departed Asians Properties case. PAC requested for dates of judgments, the trial judges and lawyers involved and the compensation amounts awarded.
Three persons Jamada Baligobye, Augustine Ceaser Luseesa and John M Nsubuga filed a petition challenging PAC’s decision to demand the Solicitor General and Attorney General to avail details of court judgments. They accused PAC of overstepping its mandate.
Justice Bashaija ruled that the deliberations, discussions, and requisitions for scrutiny by PAC in the proceedings of August 22, 2019, in regard to payment of court awards and mandamus orders amounts to interference with the execution of court orders.
“A declaration doth issue that the directions, requisitions, orders and or decision by the chairperson of PAC in the proceedings to be availed details of mandamus payments for scrutiny and reviewing including case determination dates, lawyers involved, presiding judges of court awards amounts to interference with execution orders, is contemptuous, illegal, ultra vires, unconstitutional and a direct affront of the doctrine of separation of powers,” Bashaija said.
The judge also prohibited the chairperson of PAC from deliberating, reviewing and seeking to approve or direct on payments of court awards and interfering in any way whatsoever with the execution of court orders. He said the secretary to the Treasury is statutory-bound and obliged to pay court awards once orders are issued against government.
“An injunction doth issue restraining the respondent, Parliament, and all state organs from reviewing/scrutinizing, investigating, deliberating, discussing, seeking to approve and or interfering in any way whatsoever with the execution of court orders and or payment under court awards,” the court ordered.