Legislature vs Judiciary: Legal minds on Court summons to speaker

Namajja Irene

Namajja Irene

, News

Even with failed attempts by opposition MPs who were thrown out of parliament trying to serve the speaker with summons inviting her to court, legal minds insist that should she have received them, then court would take precedent over the plenary that she was expected to preside over.

These say except the president, nobody is above the law and hence when summoned she has no special privilege not to go to court adding that the summons is only bent to benefit her by giving her a fair hearing on why she made the particular decision that she did.

In a heated scuffle between two MPs and parliamentary police, the summons directed to the speaker of parliament requiring her to go to court in a matter in which the suspended MPs are seeking for court reinstatement, were blocked.

The MPs accuse Speaker Rebecca Kadaga of breaching rules of procedure when she suspended them after adjourning the House.

However, legal minds insist that in case the summons had been served to her, the court would precede the parliament requiring her to stand over her other business and go to court.

‘Court proceeds over anything, the only thing that may prevent her lawfully is maybe if she is sick but she cannot say I’m presiding over parliament.’

Constitutional lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuzi says since the speaker was sued in her personal capacity for decisions she took, she has no privilege barring her from attending court when summoned even if there is scheduled a parliamentary sitting.

‘If court needs the speaker in order to hear a case, the speaker cannot say I cannot come because I’m presiding over parliament, court takes precedent.’

Rwakafuzi added that actually the summons are not a way of punishment or arrest but only bent to give her a fair hearing to explain to court why she took the decision that she took.

‘She is only being called to defend herself, because when they sue the attorney general, she is denied chance for self defense. She is not being summoned for punishment or arrest.’

Rwakafuzi says for as long as the speaker is summoned as an individual, then she can go to court and explain why she thinks she had privilege to make the decision she made.

‘The speaker when cited personally has to appear even if she is represented by the attorney general, she has to own her actions and explain self.’

Legally no one is above the law and hence are all expected to go to court whenever called upon even when one thinks they did whatever they did legally. The president alone is given immunity yet he too can be summoned in presidential election petitions.

On Monday six opposition members of parliament were suspended following a scuffle that ensured in the house over tabling of the age limit reports.


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