Chief Justice to Reserve Power to Interpret the Law - Speaker Muturi Suggests

  • Chief Justice David Maraga will reserve the right to interpret the law should a proposal by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi be passed.

    Speaker Muturi argues that the power to interpret the law ought to be stripped away from the High Court and reverted to the Supreme Court president and his bench.

    He has called for Article 165 of the Constitution which gives High Court judges the power to be scraped off in a constitutional amendment. 

    The speaker raised an issue with the system in which the High Court bench overturns legislation passed by the Senate, national and county assemblies.

    [caption caption="National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi during a past address"][/caption]

    According to Muturi, the practice undermines the mandate of the legislative arm of government, given that proposed laws are subjected to public participation before they are passed. 

    "If we want to give credence to three arms of government we must think of the level at which a law should be challenged. 

    "At the national level, the laws are scrutinized by the Attorney General before being taken to assembly.

    "We want the power to interpret what has been done by the other two arms of government to be given to the Chief Justice," he proposed.

    Muturi added that the CJ would have the chance and responsibility to "give the matter proper consideration". 

    He further raised concerns over the increasing trend of naming speakers as respondents in matters where laws have been challenged in court.

    "The Constitution says Speakers don't have votes, but whenever people challenge the laws, the first respondent is usually the speaker.

    "Sometimes we're even tempted to tell the legal department not to respond because we are not involved," he stated.

    [caption caption="Parliament chambers packed to capacity during a past joint sitting of the Senate and National Assembly"][/caption]