Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has received a major boost after the Meru High Court directed that she can continue serving as Acting Chief Justice until the case is heard on March 4, 2021.
In a ruling delivered on Friday, February 12, 2021, Justice Patrick Otieno also accepted an application by activist Okiya Omtatah and Kituo Cha Sheria to be enjoined in the case as interested parties.
Justice Otieno dismissed an application seeking to have the hearing in an open court, noting that due to Covid-19, the session cannot be held physically at a courthouse.
Early this month, DCJ Mwilu was barred by the Meru Court from acting as Chief Justice pending determination of a case filed against her by lawyer Isaiah Mwongela.
In the directive issued then, Justice PJ Otieno barred Mwilu from serving as a member of the Supreme Court and the Judicial Service Commission.
“That a conservatory order is hereby issued against the first respondent restraining her continued occupation of the offices of the Deputy Chief Justice, Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya, member of the Judicial Service Commission and Ombudsman of the Judiciary,” the ruling read in part.
Following the ruling, Justice Mwilu through her lawyers petitioned the decision at the High Court arguing that the orders amounted to ‘judicial terror’.
She sought to have the case transferred from Meru to Nairobi.
“The drastic orders obtained ex parte are an egregious act of judicial terror and oppression obtained fraudulently and illegally through nondisclosure of relevant and material facts and are inimical to the rule of law and fair and constitutional administration of justice.
“The ex parte orders given by the honourable court herein on January 29, 2021, are akin to mandatory orders of injunction with the potential of determining the petition summarily and should be granted sparingly and only in special circumstances,” Mwilu’s advocate said.