Court Refers GBA case to Supreme Court

By Yankuba Jallow

The High Court of the Gambia has ruled on the case involving the Gambia Bar Association (GBA) and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on the appointment of four High Court Judges.

The Court, presided over by Justice Aminata Ceesay-Saho, ruled that all courts can apply the provisions of the Constitution, but the GBA’s first ground is for the interpretation of the Constitution which she clearly stated, relied on Section 127(2) which stipulates thus: When issues of Interpretation and enforcement arise “in any proceedings in any other court, that court shall stay its proceedings and refer the matter to the Supreme Court for its determination, and such other court shall give effect to any decision of the Supreme Court in the matter.”

GBA applied for the court to grant an order of certiorari and declare that the appointment of the four judges is unconstitutional and null and void. They say the appointment of the four judges, was not made in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and therefore the court should apply sections 138, 145 and 229 of the Constitution.

In the preliminary objection raised by Counsel Ida Drammeh for the First Respondent Judicial Service Commission, argued that the Supreme Court has exclusive original jurisdiction for the interpretation or enforcement of any provision of this Constitution other than any provision of sections 18 to 33 or section 36 (5). She then urged the court to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

The decision of the high court is to refer the matter to the supreme court and for the time being the court proceedings at the high court will be stayed and the judges will remain in their positions.