Supreme Court favors senate in ruling

By Simon Achola

Supreme Court has ruled that the senate had jurisdiction to have an input in the contested division of revenue act 2013.

In the formative stages of the act, the national assembly had disregarded the senate input in the final draft of the bill.

The move culminated in a protracted supremacy battle between the two houses that saw the senate seek an advisory opinion from the Supreme Court as to weather it had a role to play in the act.

Six judges out the seven opined that senate opinion should have stood as the bill directly affected the functionalities of the county which squarely lies in the senate’s mandate.

The judges then went on clarify that their opinion was not in anyway infringing on the separation of the powers between the legislation and the judiciary.  They argued even with the supremacy of the parliament in legislation formulation that privilege must be dispensed within the dictates of the law.

However the court failed shot of terming the revenue act unconstitutional but instead focused on advising the two houses to find mechanisms to resolve future disputes that may arise.

Lack of dispute resolution mechanism seems to have been the pillar of the dissenting voice in the judgment.

Judge Njoki Ndungu said before the senate arrived to the decision to seek the opinion of the court there was deliberate effort between the two houses to resolve the matter.

She also the Supreme Court didn’t have the exclusive role to interpret the law and as such any legal institution including the parliament could dispense the issue.

Justice Njoki Ndung’u also argued that the court’s decision was tantamount to the infringement of the tenets of separation of powers between the legislation and the judiciary.

The majority decision was read by smoking Wanjala, deputy Cj Kalpan Rawal, chief justice will Mutunga and justice phillip  Tonui.

Njoki ndungu read her opinion. The decision brings to an end a protracted supremacy battle between the senate and the national assembly over the decision by the national assembly to disregard the senate’s proposal in the revenue division bill to have at least 290 billion shillings disbursed to the counties.

The national assembly stood with their decision to have 210 billion shillings disbursed from the treasury to the counties.