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Justice Choudry Floors Judicial Service Commission

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In a unanimous judgment, the three justices of the court; Remmy Kasule, Solomy Balungi Bbosa and Richard Butera held that the JSC did not accord justice Choudry an opportunity to defend himself against the complaint filed by the Uganda Law Society (ULS). The justices ruled that the omission was against the rules of natural justice.
Justice Anup Singh Choudry
The Court of Appeal has quashed a report by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that sought to revoke the appointment of high court Anup Sing Choudry on grounds that he is not fit to be a judge. The report had been forwarded to President Yoweri Museveni for action.

In a unanimous judgment, the three justices of the court; Remmy Kasule, Solomy Balungi Bbosa and Richard Butera held that the JSC did not accord justice Choudry an opportunity to defend himself against the complaint filed by the Uganda Law Society (ULS).  The justices ruled that the omission was against the rules of natural justice.

This ends a six-year protracted battle between justice Choudry, the Uganda Law Society-ULS and the Judicial Service Commission.

ULS had requested the appointing authority (President Museveni) to revoke justice choudry’s appointment as a high court judge on grounds that he had been struck off the roll of solicitors in England following a ruling against him by the solicitor’s Disciplinary Tribunal of England.

The society alleged that Justice Choudry was on the October 31, 2000 convicted of making an excessive bill of costs amounting to one million British pounds in a libel case he was handling on behalf of a Sikh leader against the Sunday Times Newspaper.  Based on this, the ULS was of the view that he is not a fit and a proper person to hold the office of a High Court Judge in Uganda.

Eventually the JSC made their representation to the President in accordance with the provisions of article 144 (4) of the Constitution to have him removed from the Bench.

But Court today declared the JSC report null and void before ordering that Choudry be awarded all the costs used in pursuing this appeal. The court also ordered JSC to stop from enforcing and taking any further action against the said report.

Further in their judgment, the justices agreed with the submissions of justice Choudry that city lawyer Prof Fredrick Ssempebwa was biased as he was both an “accuser” and a “judge”.

The justices explained that Prof. Ssempebwa was an accuser as he was part of the ULS group that lodged a complaint against Choudry and that he was a judge as he sat on the JSC panel that heard the complaint.

Shortly after the judgment, justice Choudry who is currently not deployed to any Division of the high court following a boycott declared against him by lawyers, lashed out at the JSC as being a bogus and most corrupt government institution in the country.

Today’s ruling follows another in 2012 by the High Court judge, Vincent Zehurikize, who asked the JSC to “review” its decision to refer Justice Choudry to the President, who according to the law would have to appoint a panel to investigate a judge against whom such complaints have been raised.

 

 

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