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Issuance of EAC- e-passports to proceed as court dismisses application seeking to halt it

High Court in Kampala has dismissed an application in which Centre for Constitutional Governance (CCG) had sued government seeking to halt the issuance of the EAC- e-passport. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The High Court in Kampala has on Monday, August 26, dismissed an application in which a civil society organization had sued government seeking to halt the issuance of the EAC- e-passports.

Centre for Constitutional Governance (CCG) and a one Michael Aboneka in their application had claimed that the whole process of switching to the new passports is illegal with no clear law under which the Ministry is proceedings to recall Ugandan passports and issue out the East African passports to Ugandan citizens.

However, Justice Musa Ssekaana dismissed their application with costs stating that it was incompetently before the court as their pleadings appeared confused and unpolished.

In his ruling, the judge noted that the applicants (CCG and Mr Aboneka) had not cited any infringement of any right or freedom guaranteed under the Constitution as the basis of filing the application yet they had filed their case as a public interest one seeking to enforce rights.

Justice Ssekaana noted that the applicants should have filed an application for judicial review challenging that decision of the Minister of Internal Affairs or the National Citizenship and Immigration Board rather than filing an application for enforcement of rights where no single rights is mentioned or Article of the Constitution is cited.

While citing the definition of the Black’s law dictionary 8th edition, states that public interest litigation as “the general welfare of the public that warrants recognition and protection” or something which the public as a whole has a stake.

He explained that a matter under public interest litigation must require a legal remedy and be a public interest which raises matters of broad public concern, has an impact on disadvantaged or marginalised groups, affects a significant numbers of people, not just the individual and must be a legal matter which requires addressing for the common good.

The judge warned that courts should restrict the free flow of cases in the name of public interest litigation since it is time-consuming and mainly indulges courts in taking administrative and executive functions instead of dispensing with justice which is their primary role.

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