The Constitutional Court has thrown out the state’s application to dismiss Livingstone magistrate Benjamin Mwelwa’s suspension challenge on grounds that it was not in the court’s jurisdiction.
In this matter, magistrate Mwelwa petitioned the ConCourt to declare his suspension illegal and unconstitutional, citing the Attorney General as the Respondent.
Last month, Senior State Advocate Lwisha Shula wanted the petition to be dismissed saying the issues which magistrate Mwelwa was challenging were not within the jurisdiction of the ConCourt.
But ConCourt judge Palan Mulonda has ruled that the petition will be heard on its merits except on matters that relate to the Bill of Rights.
Judge Mulonda said the petition is a proper matter for the ConCourt’s consideration as it raised constitutional issues that were within its jurisdiction.
“It is my firm view that this is a proper matter for this court’s consideration as it raises constitutional issues that are within this court’s jurisdiction. I am of the firm view tat to dismiss this petition in toto (sic) would deny this court an opportunity to pronounce itself on a matter that clearly falls within its purview but more importantly would deny the parties an opportunity to be heard on the merits of their matter. Therefore, this matter will proceed to be heard on its merits by the full court, save for the rights and freedoms contained under Part III of the Constitution,” ruled judge Mulonda.
The court also noted that the preliminary issue was erroneously raised under article 28 of the Constitution.
The magistrate Mwelwa was suspended after he referred the case involving The People versus Milford Mambo to the ConCourt after the state entered a nolle prosequi.