We have received public backlash for annulling antigay law- judge

One of the Court of Appeal/ Constitutional judges who annulled the anti-gay law has come out to say that they have received public backlash for having taken the decision they did

Tuesday September 30 2014

Justice Solomy Bossa Balungi (Left) and Justice

Justice Solomy Bossa Balungi (Left) and Justice Remy Kasule (R) go through notes on an iPad during the just concluded two-day judicial symposium. Photo by Anthony Wesaka 

By ANTHONY WESAKA

One of the Court of Appeal/ Constitutional judges who annulled the anti-gay law has come out to say that they have received public backlash for having taken the decision they did.
Justice Solomy Bossa Balungi said that despite receiving the backlash from the public over the decision they took, they had not responded to the same until yesterday.
To that effect, she hit back at those criticizing them for having quashed the antigay law, saying their decision is in “black and white” and that those aggrieved can appeal in a higher court instead of lashing at them.
On August 1 this year, Justice Bossa was among the five justices of the court who unanimously annulled the anti-gay law for having been passed without the required quorum of one-third of all the members of Parliament.

The other justices included; Acting deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma who led the panel, Augustine Nshimye, Eldad Mwangusya and Rubby Aweri Opio.
The Justices faulted the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga for having acted illegally when she ignored her constitutional responsibility and presided over the passing the law without ascertaining whether there was quorum in the House or not.
“We have received a lot of community backlash for the annulment of the antigay law. We had not responded to them since our judgment but the same is in black and white and as judges, I think we did our job,” said justice Bossa on Monday during the Judicial Symposium at Chobe Safari Lodge organized by Judicial Studies Institute (JSI) and International Governance Alliance (IGA) on public interest litigation.

She added, “The judgment is in black and white and those who are aggrieved with it; should appeal before the Supreme Court.”
Reflecting back, shortly after the annulment of the antigay law that had been in force for about five months after President Museveni publically assented to it early this year, religious leaders including Pastor Martin Sempa, were not happy with the decision.
Government too was not happy and through the attorney general, it has filed a notice of appeal against the decision of court.
During the judicial symposium, the issue of awarding costs in a case of public interest litigation was contentious.
Justice Eldad Mwangusya of the Court of Appeal; explained why in their majority judgment of 4:1 did not award costs to Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga despite having won the case involving the reappointment of Justice Benjamin Odoki as Chief Justice.

Justice Mwangusya who was one of the five justices, who handled the Odoki petition, reasoned that Karuhanga’s lawyers who included Prof George Kanyeihamba abandoned the case and that it was not wise to award costs in such circumstances before adding they should have even been punished them for that.
He further reasoned that the case was of public interest that is why they also never awarded costs to Karuhanga.
The two-day judicial symposium that has attracted judges of the appellate courts and a selected few from the high court and also those from the East African region is mainly focusing how to effectively handle public interest cases.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com


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