Cases From Other States Will No Longer Be Heard -FCT Chief Judge
In order to address the challenge of conflicting decisions on the same case by different courts Chief Judge of the High Court in the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Ishaq Bello has resolved that it will no longer hear political cases from other states.
According him, the number of applications from lawyers seeking transfer of their political cases was so high that if he was not careful, he could spend all his time attending to them, therefore the resolution will help to foreclose the window for forum shopping and sanitise the system.
He said, “Political cases that originate from other component states of the federation that, for whatever reason, are brought here (the High Court of the FCT), shall no longer be heard here.”
He added that the new direction was also to address the observation by the Court of Appeal that such cases pose difficulties to it, administratively, because divisions of the appellate court exist in the areas where such cases are brought to Abuja.
“Cases will come from Kaduna, which ordinarily, the High Court of Kaduna State should be able to handle, or from Ondo, Anambra, Sokoto. And, not only that, even when they come here, they keep on jumping from one court to another.
“And, when they see the writing on the wall, they start bringing up stories, either pinning it to the judge presiding or any other anomaly they can conceive from the figment of their imagination.
“We deem it desirable that we have to sanitise the situation. And the practice direction has now directed the transfer of all such cases back to their places of origin, even if they are part-heard matters, they will no longer be entertained here.
“Even if there is any regime that gives the slightest window for the assumption of jurisdiction, so long as it is the view of the presiding judge that the matter is better attended to at the place of origin of the case, it will be returned back,” he said.
Speaking on ex parte injuntions in politocal cases Justice Bello maintained that the decision of the High Court of the FCT was not to grant such.
“I believe members of the Unity Bar must have observed that this jurisdiction has demonstrated its sense of reform against granting ex parte injunction or any restraining order to forestall electioneering activities.
“Therefore, you should be wary of coming forward with ex parte motions when they relate to political cases, because you know we are not going to accede to that.
“This is because we want the natural growth of democracy. We want political actors to be able to learn the act of resolving their disputes within themselves, politically, without the necessity of resorting to court, unless where it becomes exceedingly necessary,” Justice Bello said.
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