Case Tracker

Cases Before Court
   
   
20/2019
Constitutional Petition
Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) V Attorney General (AG)
Currently Before Court

Introduction

This Petition is brought under Article 137 (1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and the Constitution Court (Petition and Reference) Rules 2005, Statutory Instrument No.91 of 2005.

Background

The petitioner (CEPIL) challenges the provisions of the Non-Government Organization Act 2016. The petitioner alleges that the provisions of the Non-Government Organization Act 2016 are inconsistent with and in contravention with particular Articles of 1995 Constitution of Uganda. That’s since the passing of the Act, the state agencies have consistently harassed, unabated, numerous Non-government organization and related civic organization particularly those involved in advocacy work in the areas of rule of law, constitutionalism, electoral democracy, development and human rights on the grounds allegedly, that they are involved in partisan activities which are illegal in view of the provision of the Act. The particular sections of the Non-Government Organization Act which are subject to the challenge are set out as follows.

The petition contends that;-

  1. Section 44 (a), (b), (c), (e), (g) and (h) of the Act contravenes and is inconsistent with Article 8A, 21 (1) and (2), 29 and 38(2) of the 1995 Constitution.
  2. Similarly, Article 29 (1) (a) and (e) provide for freedom of speech and expression which is unreasonably and unjustifiably proscribed in respect of non-government organization by the provision of Section 44 (g).

The petition is accompanied by an affidavit of Francis Obonyo the Petition’s programmes officer. It is therefore the petitioners prayer that the Honorable Court grants a declaration that Section 44 a, b, c, e, g and h of the Non-Governmental Organisation Act are unconstitutional and there null and void, and also grant an order expunging the said Section from the Act.

   
   
26/2019
Constitutional Petition
Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) V Attorney General (AG)
Currently Before Court

Introduction

This Petition is brought under Article 137 (1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and the Constitution Court (Petition and Reference) Rules 2005, Statutory Instrument No.91 of 2005.

Background

The Petitioner (CEPIL) instituted this suit to challenge the provisions of the Press and Journalist Act, Cap 105 which are in contravention of and/or inconsistent with the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. CEPIL further contends that the use of the internet, especially social media and other similar digital platforms by ordinary citizens, to receive and impart information violates Article 29(a) and 41(1). The particular sections of the Press and Journalist Act, cap 105 which are subject to the challenge are set out as follows This Petition is brought under Article 137 (1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and the Constitution Court (Petition and Reference) Rules 2005, Statutory Instrument No.91 of 2005.

Section 1 (h) restricts the definition of a journalist to a person enrolled as such under the Act.

  1. Section 9 (e) prohibits appointment of an editor without requisite qualification prescribed by the Media Council
  2. Section 15 (2)a restrict full membership of the National Institute of Journalists of Uganda to holders of university degree in Journalism or Mass communication
  3. Section 16 (1) and (3) vests the institute with powers to determine who is eligible to practice the journalism profession
  4. Section 27 (3) and (4) prohibits any person from practicing journalism without being enrolled under the Act and having a valid practicing certificate thereby certificate
  5. Section 28 (a) prohibits grants of a practicing certificate to a person not enrolled under the Act.

The petition is accompanied by an affidavit of Francis Obonyo the Petition’s programmes officer who is an ardent believer in freedom of expression and a keen promoter of media freedom and these tenets are deeply valued by the Petitioner organization.

In this petition therefore, the petitioner prays that the Honorable Court may;- grant a declaration that the impugned section above of the Press and Journalists Act, 105 are unconstitutional hence null and void, and also grant an order expunging some of the impugned sections from the Act.

   
   
25/2019
Constitutional Petition
Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) V Attorney General (AG) and Director of Public Prosecution
Currently Before Court

Introduction

This Petition is brought under Article 137 (1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and the Constitution Court (Petition and Reference) Rules 2005, Statutory Instrument No.91 of 2005.

Background

The petition (CEPIL) is aggrieved by the various occasions between 2016 and 2019, security agencies have consistently re-arrested accused persons on Court premises shortly after they have been granted bail, unconditionally released or acquitted by the courts of law. These occasions have become numerous and continue unabated despite outcries and protests from various sections of Uganda Society including the Judiciary, the Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Uganda Law Society, members of civil society and the general public.

The most recent of these incidents was on the 11th September 2019 when an advocate and officer of the Court, Mr James Mubiru, who was representing accused persons charged with the murder of the former AIGP Felix Kaweesi was violently arrested alongside his clients as they existed the court premises at the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kololo after the latter had been granted bail.

It is against the fore-mentioned background that the petitioner bring this petition in public interest and contends that, the actions of re-arrest of bailed suspects from court premises by security agencies under the guise of law enforcement, the 2nd Respondent’s action of charging bailed suspects violates and/or contravenes the various provisions of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda.

The Petitioner further contends that the actions of the 1st and 2nd Respondents are in violations of Article 2(1), 23 (6) (a) and (b), 24, 28(1) and (3) (a), 44 (a), 120, 128 (2) and (3) and 221 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. It is therefore the Petitioner’s plea to the Honorable Court be to grant prayed declarations, orders and interdicts in the petition.

   
   
17/2014
Constitutional Petition
Bonafacio Mulugga & 6 Others v Attorney General
Currently Before Court

Petition challenging pro-longed pre-trial detentions, the lacuna in the law on the maximum time for pre-trial detention after committal: – freedom from deprivation of personal liberty.  We seeking a declaration that the prolonged pre-trial detention is unconstitutional. Long pretrial detention denies the detainee the right to personal liberty and freedom. The law does not mention how long a detainee shall be remanded in prison pending a hearing. The law assumes the accused or the detained is guilty which is contrary to the constitution.

   
   
20/2016
Constitutional Petition
CEPIL v Attorney General
Currently Before Court

The petition challenges the acts of the Members of Parliament of Uganda of introducing clause21 (1) (q) (a) of the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2016 (Now Act), which seeks to exempt MPs allowances from income tax, as being in contravention of Article 92 and 79 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. That the act of the MPs of the Respondents of introducing clause21 (1) (q) (a)in the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2016 when the said provision was not introduced on behalf and by the Government of Uganda but by the MPs for own benefit, is in contravention of Article 93 (a) (i) and (b), and 79 (1) of the Constitution. Exempting Members of parliament form paying taxes in against public interest. If they do not pay these taxes it is a great reduction to the revenue and leads to eventual poor delivery of services because of limited funds. Currently before court.

   
   
40/2015
Constitutional Petition
CEPIL v Attorney General
Currently Before Court

The Petition challenges the sub judice rule that bars detailed public discussion of a case before courts of law. In a Constitutional court petition, CEPIL claims government institutions are using the sub judice rule to deny people public information beyond what is demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society.That the sub judice rule as postulated by both the courts of judicature of Uganda, the parliament of Uganda and the public bodies to deny the petitioner and other members of the public access to information is inconsistent with the Constitution (with the right to access information and the freedom of expression)

   
   
16/2014
Other
Ronald Ssembuusi Vs Attorney General of Uganda
Currently Before Court

On December 2nd, 2014, Ronald Ssembuusi, a radio journalist, petitioned the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania challenging the continued use of sections 179 and 180 of the Penal Code of Uganda. The Applicant passed away on the 2ndJanuary, 2015. An amended reference was filed. Application No. 2 of 2015 (arising from Reference No. 16 of 2014-MLDI&19 others v Ronald Ssembuusi-deceased & AG of Uganda was heard on 30thJuly, 2016.The UN and African Union Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression and a group of different national, regional and international organisations led by the Medial Legal Defence Initiative in London (Including Centre for Public Interest Law) being interested in the matter applied for leave of Court to file amicus briefs. These were admitted as friends of Court. The attorney General appealed the decision giving rise to several other applications;

  • Appeal No. 1/2018 (Arising from Application No. 4/2015 & Reference No. 16/2-14) – Attorney General of Uganda v MLDI & 19 Others (Appellate Division) Attorney General appealed against the ruling of the First Instance Division granting the respondents leave to be joined as amici to Reference No. 16/2014 currently before court. Filed in January 2018.
  • Application No. 1/2018 (Arising from Appeal No. 1/2018, Application No. 4/2015 & Reference No. 16/2014) – MLDI & 19 Others v Attorney General (Appellate Division) We filed an application to strike out the appeal of the AG filed out of time, with no competent Notice of Appeal. Filed in January 2018
  • Application No. 2/2018 (Arising from Appeal No. 1 of 2018, Application No. 4/2015 & Reference No. 16/2-14) – Attorney General of Uganda v MLDI & 19 Others (Appellate Division). Attorney General filed an application for Court to validate the filing and service of the applicant’s record of appeal out of time. Filed in February 2018
   
   
58/2014
Other
Mulindwa Mukasa v Julius Caesar Tusingwire
Currently Before Court

The Applicant instituted this matter in the High Court for declarations that the arbitrary acts of accosting, slapping and the unlawful search, arrest and assault of the applicant by the Respondent (DPC) of Wandegeya and other police officers on orders given by the Respondent infringed on the applicant’s rights protected by Articles 24, 27, 40(2), and 44(a) of the Constitution. The parties agreed and a consent judgment was given to the effect that the respondent was to give an official apology and pay nominal damages to the applicant. CEPIL has since then used this case as an instrument of advocacy with state institutions such as the Police in the promotion of the freedom of expression.

   
   
3/2018
Constitutional Petition
Uganda Law Society v Attorney General (Age Limit Petition)
Currently Before Court

The petition challenges the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2018, to wit Articles 3, 8, 10, and the manner of proceedings at the floor of Parliament in passing of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 2017, as well as the acts of security forces in entering Parliament, assaulting, arresting and detaining members of Parliament. Currently before court.

   
   
25/2018
Constitutional Petition
Human Rights Network for Journalists Ltd & Eastern Africa Media Institute (U) Ltd v Attorney General
Currently Before Court

The petition challenges sections 7, 9 (3),11 (2), (3) & (4), 13, 14 (5), 16 (4)(d), 46 (2), 60 (5), 61(b), 63(2) & (4), 67(1)(f ) &(2), 72(1) & (2) (c),  of the Uganda Communications Act No. 1 of 2013 as contravening Articles 29(1), 21 26,28(12),42  of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, thereby undermining the right  to freedom of expression, the freedom of the press and other media. These sections of the Uganda Communications Act No.1 give the Minister of Information and Communication Technology wide unfettered power to interfere with the operations of the Uganda Communications Commission, contrary to Section 8 of the same law, which provides that the Commission shall exercise its functions independently of any persons or body.These sections of the fore mentioned Act place disproportionate power in the hands of the Minister leaving the Commission dependent on government and, it is because of this disproportionate power that the Minister has issued several policy directives to the Uganda Communications Commission in the recent past that impede the freedom of expression, and the freedom of the Press for instance In the last two years; the Uganda Communications Commission has effortlessly shut down social media and mobile money, banned live broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings and demonstrations, and temporarily closed some radio and television stations in moves that are widely politically motivated, impeding the right of freedom of expression and freedom of press and other media as enshrined in the Constitution.

   
   
9/2014
Constitutional Petition
CEPIL, Human Rights Network for Journalists & East African Media Institute v Attorney General
Currently Before Court

Petition against certain provisions of the Press and Journalists Act Cap 105 seeking the Court’s interpretation of the constitutionality of the impugned provisions. The Petition challenges provisions establishing two government-controlled regulatory bodies with wide and significant discretionary powers over the media; restricting the practice of journalism by requiring compulsory licensing and registration of journalists; provisions authorizing significant penalties and sanctions on journalists, including disqualification and suspension from practicing journalism; provisions authorizing the Media Council to censor films and plays.

   
   
60/2011
Constitutional Petition
CEPIL & Abdu Katuntu v Attorney General (AG)
Dismissed

The Petitioners filed this petition in December 2011 challenging the constitutionality of the then Section 59 of the Petroleum (Exploration & Production) Act Cap 150, the confidentiality clauses in the Petroleum Production Sharing Agreements between Uganda and the various oil companies, and the ‘Guidelines for accessing Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) by Members of Parliament and Authorised Persons’ issued by the Speaker of Parliament in October 2011. Prior to the hearing of the petition, a new, the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act, 2013 law was passed by Parliament repealing Petroleum (Exploration & Production) Act Cap 150. The 2013 Act retained the impugned provisions of Section 59 of Cap 150 under Section 153 of the 2013 Act.

The Petition contended that the non-disclosure of the PSAs on the basis of confidentiality clauses and Section 153 of the 2013 Act (initially Section 59 of Cap 150) was inconsistent with the right of access to information under Article 41 of the Constitution. The Petition further asserted that the Guidelines issued by the Speaker of Parliament on the basis of the impugned section of the Act were inconsistent with Articles 79, 90 and 244 (2) of the Constitution which empower the Parliament to make laws, and specifically laws relating to minerals and petroleum.

The matter came up for hearing on the 27thSeptember 2018, and the panel of the Court observed that the Court has pronounced itself profoundly on the right of access to information, the scope of enjoyment of the right, the acceptable parameters of limiting the said right, and the enforcement of the right. The Court noted that it is the position of the law that Government contracts are public documents which should be accessible to the public. Whereas the Court noted that the Petition raised valid questions for constitutional interpretation, it reserved the view that the questions raised by the Petition are sufficiently addressed by its earlier decisions. The Court further guided that the Petitioners could enforce the right to access information under the Access to Information Act, 2005 and if denied access to the requested information, the Petitioners could proceed under the procedure for enforcement of rights under Article 50 of the Constitution.

The Court however dismissed the Petition without making any declarations on the questions raised by the Petitioners.  The CEPIL legal team is examining the outcome of the decision with a view of taking further steps to ensure transparency in oil sector.

   
   
32/2016
Civil Suit
Andrew Karamagi V Attorney General (AG)
Currently Before Court

This CEPIL case sought to challenge the constitutionality of the appointment processes of the then Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda. The petition argued that the appointment and subsequent approval of the then Deputy Chief Justice by the appointments committee in Parliament and His Lordship’s continued occupation of the office in the absence of recommendations from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was illegal and in contravention of specific articles in the constitution of the republic of Uganda.  

   
   
52/2017
Constitutional Petition
Uganda Law Society (ULS) V Attorney General (AG)
Currently Before Court

This CEPIL research and supported petition filed under the umbrella of CISTIJ, seeks to streamline the processes within which the Judiciary receives its funding. The constitution observes and provides for a self-accounting status of the institution of the Judiciary.  The Executive is only required to make comments on the budget presented to them by the judiciary to be passed onto Parliament for debate. The budget however is amended by the Executive in stark contrast to provisions in the constitution.

This petition is challenging the constitutionality of the actions of the Executive in approving budgetary framework; inadequate allocation and budget cuts thereby leading to underfunding of the institution of the judiciary rendering it ineffective in discerning its constitutional mandate.