Ajay Kumar

| @AKlawyer | May 4,2019

There has been much controversy on the issue of the sexual misconduct allegations made against the current Chief Justice of Wakanda. I find that it is prudent that I inform all of you about the law on how these cases are to be dealt with.

The law on allegations of misconduct by a sitting Chief Justice was outlined in the case of Misra v. Just About Everyone Else (2017) WSC 1111 wherein it was inter alia held that the Chief Justice possessed a gauntlet of powers granted to him by the Constitution. Particularly six powers – the power to summon, dismiss, go incognito, create a conspiracy, make law and suspend law (including the Constitution itself!)

Which means that when an allegation is made against a sitting Chief Justice, the Chief Justice can invoke the powers of the gauntlet, snap his fingers and constitute a bench to deal with the allegations against himself.

 

The Gauntlet

 

The gauntlet is quite powerful, using these powers the Chief Justice can make himself invisible and therefore his name won’t appear in the orders over a bench that he is presiding over.

Parliament in its wisdom has enacted The Carpets Act of 1950 to deal with issues of misconduct by a Chief Justice. The Carpets Act is a seminal piece of legislation. When invoked the Act amends the Evidence Act of 1872, the Advocates Act of 1961, the Supreme Court Rules of 2013, the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, Articles 14, 19, 21, 22 and 39A of the Constitution of Wakanda.

When a complaint is made against a sitting Chief Justice, the provisions of Section 3 of the Carpets Act come into force and the amendments apply to those proceedings. When invoked the Chief Justice is required to use his gauntlet to constitute a committee to investigate the allegations against him. The committee then appears. The committee is made up of other judges of the Supreme Court. As it is only a creature of the gauntlet, lawyers can’t appear before the committee of judges.  Therefore no party is permitted to be represented by a lawyer in these proceedings. However, a party without a law degree or a party who is not an advocate themselves may take the assistance of a registered Kangaroo.

In terms of Section 4A of the Act, in the event a party abandons the hearing, then the other party automatically wins. The proceedings of this committee are confidential and while the act is not clear, purposive interpretation tells us that the orders of the committee are kept in sealed covers.

 

The Writ of Bains

 

Section 4 of the Act confers power on the Supreme Court to issue a Writ of Bains to the world at large. When a Writ of Bains is issued, the Supreme Court begins another proceeding to see if there is a conspiracy behind the complaint. The hearing before the committee and the writ proceedings go on simultaneously. In order to ensure that they don’t affect each other, the proceedings in writ are all done via “sealed covers”. All parties submit their facts in sealed covers, the arguments are made via sealed covers and the order is also issued via a sealed cover. In the interest of transparency, the hearings are public though. This ensures the public can watch people tendering sealed covers. Justice must not only be done, it must also be seen to be done.

While disposing of a petition for the grant of a Writ of Bains, if the Supreme Court finds that the complaint is one that is a matter of public importance affecting the independence of the judiciary, then the Supreme Court may not just punish the complainant, it may also punish anyone it pleases.

 

Sweep orders under the Carpets Act

 

Under Section 5 of the Act, the complaint is then subject to a “Sweep Order” passed by the Supreme Court. Irrespective of the outcome of the enquiry the “Sweep Order” ensures that the allegations remain protected under the Carpets Act. No person may know in future what these allegations are and when there is a “Sweep Order” in place, the records get automatically corrected to protect the parties. A Sweep Order under the Carpets Act may be issued at any point.

Section 6-A (amended in 2017) gives the Chief Justice the power to invoke the gauntlet at any stage of the proceedings in the interests of justice.

Section 7 of the Act gives effect to the amendments to other legislation outlined in the Schedule to the Act. These amendments are only for that particular proceeding.

In all, I just want to let you all know the law on this matter is quite settled and the Supreme Court seems to be following the law down to the letter.

 

NB

a) All reference to the law is a reference to the law of Wakanda.

b) The author means no disrespect to the Chief Justice of Wakanda. 

c) All other references to characters real or imaginary are purely a matter of coincidence.

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