Constitutional Interpretation

Baku Raphael Obudra and Ors v Attorney General - Constitutional Appeal No. 1 of 2005 (Constitutional Appeal No. 1 of 2005) [2006] UGSC 5 (15 March 2006);


Search Summary: 

This appeal is against the decision of the
Constitutional Court arising from a petition by
each of the two appellants. In their respective
petitions, each appellant sought declarations
that subsection (3) of S.67 of the Parliamentary
Elections Act, 2001 is inconsistent with
Articles 86 and 140 of the Constitution and
that the subsection infringes on their rights of
Appeal under the Constitution. The
background is that the appellants contested in
an election and challenged the result in the
high court and the court of appeal. Their

applications were dismissed at both courts and
they sought to institute a third appeal to the
Supreme court but the impugned sections
barred the step. They petitioned the
Constitutional Court and the court held that the
subsection was not inconsistent with the
Constitution and so the Court declined to grant
the declarations sought and dismissed the two
petitions. They now appeal on the ground of
the right of appeal.

Headnote and Holding: 

The court held that Jurisdiction cannot be
prescribed by mere inference. That Article 140
does not expressly confer any jurisdiction at all
on the High Court, the Court of Appeal or the
Supreme Court. As regards the High Court and
the Court of Appeal, jurisdiction is conferred
by Article 86(1) and (2). Article 86 is silent on
the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. If the
Constitution intended to confer expressly the
right of appeal to the Supreme Court, nothing
could have prevented the framers from
providing that right of appeal under Article 86.
That It is trite law that there is no such a thing
as inherent appellate jurisdiction. Appellate
jurisdiction must be specifically created by
law. It cannot be inferred or implied.
In dissent , it was held that the Constitution
provides for an appeal to the Supreme Court if
one is dissatisfied with the decision of the
Court of Appeal, when there is no provision in
the Constitution precluding such appeal I think

that the appellants were perfectly entitled to
appeal to the final Court of Appeal in the land.


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