The High Court will on Friday next week hear arguments in a constitutional case in which White Horse Party is challenging recent appointment of judges by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
The date has been set after the High Court sitting as a Constitutional Court, had ruled that proceedings of the JSC are confidential therefore cannot be shared. The ruling was made in a counter application filed by the Minister of Law and Justice together with others who were asking for a record of proceedings within which the judges were appointed for recommendation.
In their arguments before court last week, legal representative for the applicants in the counter application Advocate Monaheng Rasekoai had argued that the relief sought was important as they wanted to know the names of the appointed judges, who appointed them and what criteria was employed in appointing and excluding candidates.
He had argued that it is important that the court is provided with all the necessary and relevant information in order to make an informed decision adding that the case is of public interest. He had said no privacy privilege would be breached in disclosing the information.
In response, legal representative for the JSC Advocate Salemane Phafane had insisted that the appointment of judges is a secret, as a result, the commission cannot disclose information on how they are appointed. He had stated that Regulation 6 of the JSC provides that what goes on in the commission should not be disclosed adding that as per legislature, appointment of judges is a matter between the JSC and the King.
Advocate Phafane had emphasised that the JSC cannot do what the Minister was asking them to do as it undermines the constitution and regulations. He had remarked that if the JSC discloses its deliberations, the information would be made public and may cause harm to the dignity as well as reputation of the commission. He had added that judicial independence which the JSC strives for, may be undermined.
The case is before presiding Judge Tséliso Monaphathi assisted by judges Moroke Mokhesi and Keketso Moahloli.