Following several complaints by court users, the Judiciary has barred the retention of national identification cards of sureties by the court, according to a circular issued by the Principal Judge Flavian Zeija.
In the circular issued to all judges, registrars and assistants, chief magistrates and magistrates 1 and II, Zeija noted that the said practice makes citizens unable to pursue their rights and undertake their obligations as citizens of Uganda.
Many courts have been asking sureties to deposit their national identification cards until final determination of a criminal case as a condition to grant bail to suspects.
Zeija explained that most criminal cases take over a month to be disposed of, yet national identification cards are required by all Ugandans to undertake day to day business adding that the attendant challenge is that sureties are unable to pursue their rights and undertake their obligations as citizens of this country for as long as their original Identity cards are retained by a court.
“Since the law doesn’t require deposit of the national identification cards of sureties with court as a condition for grant of bail, this circular serves to forbid judicial officers from continuing with the practice. By this circular, judicial officers ordering the retention of national identification cards of sureties and reminded to make bail orders that reflect difference between the accused persons and their sureties,”
He directed all courts that are holding original identification cards of sureties to review such orders.
Judicial officers were asked to ensure compliance as soon as practicable in light of the ongoing directive governing court operations during Covid-19 pandemic.