The legislative committee is urging the Judiciary to come up with legislative proposals to allow the Deputy Chief Justice to act in the absence of the Chief Justice.
The current chief justice David is set to retire in January 2021 and this; The National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee has foreseen a crisis upon his exit, hence the need to have Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu step in.
The committee chaired by Kangema MP Muturi Kigano expressed the importance to have a temporary holder of the office until the Judicial Service Commission recruits a new one.
According to Article 163 (2) of the Constitution; for a proper sitting, the Supreme Court should have five judges. While in the absence of CJ Maraga the Supreme Court will still be properly constituted,
Appearing before the legal committee alongside members of the Judicial Service Commission yesterday, CJ Maraga confirmed he would be proceeding for his 30 days terminal leave on December 12 and that he would be back in the office on January 12 — his last day in office.
“I will take my terminal leave on December 12 but the Judicial Service Commission cannot start the process of recruiting when I’m away, I will still be the Chief Justice,” Mr. Maraga told the committee.
Mr. Maraga, 69, is expected to leave office on January 12 upon attaining 70 years as stipulated by the Constitution.
The CJ’s retire worries many including Minority Whip Junet Mohamed who says once the CJ takes his terminal leave, it can only be concluded that his term has ended because he will be reporting on his last day.
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma on the other hand requests for confirmation if there would be any constitutional crisis on who steps in the office once the Chief Justice is out of office.
Mr. Maraga gave clarity saying that being away on terminal leave does not amount to his office being vacant.
The judiciary has had a tussle with the executive over the pending appointment of the 41 judges, and the court president defended saying that JSC had done its part and the matter is now out of its hands.
However, the media was locked out when MPs pressed on the CJ to disclose the adverse report that was presented to President Kenyatta that has made him delay in appointing the judges.
“This is a matter that I would like to discuss in camera,” CJ Maraga said.
MPs raised concerns that the majority of courts across are still closed due to a lack of judges and wanted to know what the Judiciary is doing to address the situation.
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