House passes JSC Bill, sets course for new dispensation
By Martin Mutua
Parliament passed the Judicial Service Bill 2010 after several amendments were carried out by members.
Justice Minister Mutula kilonzo, who had moved the Bill, said now the two principals have an opportunity to appoint new judges and change Judiciary tremendously.
The Bill is one of the two that geared towards reforming the Judiciary and this was the reason Parliament was reconvened early for a special session. It is now expected that the House will adjourn next week to allow for the President to prorogue the fourth session in order for a new session to be opened.
A key amendment that was moved by Garsen MP Danson Mungatana will see the newly established 47 counties all get judges who will head the respective courts in those counties.
The JSC Bill 2010 seeks to transform the operations of the Judiciary, in line with the new Constitution as it has already been reconstituted.
According to the Bill, the Chief Justice shall be the head of the Judiciary as well as be the President of the yet to be established Supreme Court. He or she shall also be the link between the Judiciary and the other arms of Government. And for the first time in Kenya’s history, the CJ shall also have a deputy.
A key component in the Bill is the establishment of National Council on Administration of Justice, which has been included to go in tandem with the Judicial Service Commission that is outlined in the Constitution.
While the Judicial Service Commission will be responsible for recommending to the President persons for appointment as judges, the council seeks to bring all the stakeholders on matters pertaining to the justice system under one body to run the affairs of the Judiciary.
Both the council and the commission will be chaired by the Chief Justice. The commission will review and make recommendations on terms of service of the Judiciary. The commission will also be in charge of appointing, receiving complaints against, investigating, and removing from office or otherwise discipline registrars, magistrates, other judicial officers, and other staff of the Judiciary as will be outlined by an act of Parliament, among other functions.
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