The Constitutional Court has declined to grant the Law Association of Zambia an interim injunction restraining the National Assembly from continuing with the legislative process to enact the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No.10 into law, pending determination of the petition.
Constitutional Court judge Annie Sitali dismissed LAZ’s application saying it is not an appropriate case to exercise her discretion to grant an interim relief in form of an interim injunction and further ordered each party to bear their costs of the application.
This is the matter in which LAZ has dragged President Edgar Lungu, the Attorney General and the National Assembly to the Constitutional Court for attempting to alter the Constitution of Zambia through Bill 10 of 2019.
However, LAZ applied for an order of interim injunction to restrain the National Assembly from subjecting the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019 for consideration by its Select Committee and thereafter to proceed to the second and third reading stages of the Bill.
LAZ further wanted the court to restrain President Lungu from assenting to the said Bill pending the determination if its petition.
But the National Assembly opposed the grant of the interim injunction and submitted that it cannot be restrained from considering the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No 10 as suggested by LAZ because it enjoys exclusive cognizance and unfettered jurisdiction in the conduct of its internal proceedings.
And in her ruling, Tuesday, justice Sitali observed that it was evident from LAZ’s submissions that the assertion that the association would suffer irreparable injury if the interim injunction was not granted was based on the contention that should its application be declined, it would be denied its right to defend the Constitution and would, as a result, suffer irreparable injury.
She stated that the argument did not assist LAZ to prove that unless the interim injunction was granted, it would suffer irreparable injury.
Justice Sitali stated that LAZ would still retain its right to defend the Constitution in the main matter, whether or not she decided to grant the injunction in its favour.
She said the mandatory requirement for the National Assembly to facilitate public involvement in the legislative process was clearly a mechanism provided in the Constitution to ensure that the public could give their input in the development of a proposed law before the Bill was enacted.
Justice Sitali added that in her view, that was a good opportunity given to the public in furtherance of the right and duty to defend the Constitution.
She found that LAZ had not proved that it would suffer irreparable injury if an injunction was not granted in the case.
“Having found that LAZ has not proved that it will suffer irreparable injury in this case, it is not necessary for me to determine where the balance of inconvenience lies between the parties,” justice Sitali said.
She then dismissed LAZ’s application.
“For the reasons I have stated, I find that this is not an appropriate case in which I should exercise my discretion to grant interim relief in the form of an interim injunction. The application is therefore declined and it is accordingly dismissed,” ruled justice Sitali.