Hon. Justice Ssekaana Musa Discusses What Amounts to Contempt of Court in his ruling Ekau V Dr Ruth Aceng, The Minister of Health and Attorney General (Miscellaneous Application No.746 of 2018) [2019] UGHCCD 120; delivered on the 17th June 2019

 This application arose out of an application for judicial review by the applicant (Mr. Ekau) against the Attorney General and the Minister of health. It sought among others judicial review by way of certiorari (to quash) the decision of the minister stopping the applicant from being appointed to serve as a representative of pharmaceutical society of Uganda to the National Drug Authority. It also sought judicial review by way of Mandamus (to compel) compelling the minister to appoint and give the applicant the terms of reference as a representative. When the application was heard, the orders were granted, however the minister did not do as ordered claiming that they were going to appeal those orders, hence this application giving rise to an issue of Whether the Minister of Health is in contempt of court order?  

The honorable justice defined contempt of court as conduct that defies authority of a court and because such conduct interferes with administration of justice, it is punishable usually by fine or imprisonment. The reason why contempt of court order is punishable is to safe guard the law which is very important in the administration of justice. A party who walks through the justice door with a court order in his hands must be assured that the order will be obeyed by those to whom is directed. The justice also found the justification by the respondents for not following the orders was baseless and did not have merit because they were already in contempt by the time they filed the appeal.