Court overturns salaries body decision to cap JSC meetings

The High Court yesterday quashed the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s (SRC) limit on Judicial Service Commission sittings.

Justice Chacha Mwita said SRC’s decision to cap the remunerable meetings for JSC members to not more than eight a month was unconstitutional and interfered with JSC’s  independence.

“The decision to cap the number of sittings to eight was a violation of the Constitution. An order is hereby issued quashing SRC’s decision of December 19, 2015,” said Mwita

Justice Mwita said the role of JSC is limited to reviewing and setting remuneration of State officers.

JSC moved to court in 2016 to challenge a directive that capped the number of paid monthly meetings to eight, saying the orders would affect the recruitment of judicial officials.

JSC argued that it would be unable to meet deadlines or even discharge its duties as far as independence, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of the Judiciary in administration of justice are concerned.

The commission had sued SRC and the Attorney General.

In its objection, SRC told the court that allowing JSC to have its way would push the wage bill to unsustainable levels.

SRC had issued the directive via a circular dated December 19, 2015 which stipulated that sitting allowances for JSC be capped to eight a month.

SRC told the court that the decision was aimed at dealing with past cases of abuse.

“Considering that the number of paid meetings was not capped, there were cases of abuse, such as members drawing sitting allowances for meetings not properly constituted,” said SRC.

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