The Constitutional Court in Kampala has made a landmark ruling that has repealed the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act, 2015, which banned the sale and use of several narcotic drugs in Uganda.
The decision was made following a petition by farmers of miraa, who argued that the law was inconsistent with principles of legality, equality, rationality, and proportionality guaranteed under the constitution since they were never consulted.
In the 2017 petition, the farmers of the crop under their umbrella body, Wakiso Miraa Growers and Dealers Association Ltd, petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking to overturn the decision of parliament, which they said was not backed up by any evidence, scientific or otherwise. The dealers in mairungi also argued that they were aggrieved over the manner in which the law seeks to prohibit the cultivation, possession, consumption, sale, purchase, warehousing, distribution, transportation, exportation, importation, and other dealings in the crop.
- Advertisement -
On Friday, the Constitutional Court ruled that the manner in which the entire law was enacted was illegal and the only remedy was repealing it.
The panel of five justices, including the Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera, Justice Stephen Musota, Justice Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, Justice Irene Mulyagonja, and Justice Monica K. Mugyenyi, ruled that any bill passed without the required procedure being followed is null and void. They added that the rules of procedure in parliament require a quorum before any bill is passed.
Justice Kibeedi, in his lead judgment, declared the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act, 2015 null and void for lack of quorum on the part of parliament, contrary to articles 88 and 89 of the Constitution and rule 23 of the Rules of Procedure of the 9th parliament, 2012 made pursuant to articles 88 and 94 of the Constitution.
Repealing the entire act, Justice Kibeedi ruled that since the provisions that banned dealing in miraa were not handled by parliament independent of the rest of the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act, 2015, it is only prudent that the entire law is nullified. He ruled that there is nothing about the impugned act to be saved before nullifying the law and granting costs to the petitioner.
Kizito Vincent, the chairman for the petitioners, Wakiso Miraa Growers and Dealers Association Ltd, welcomed the ruling as a big victory. He said that their businesses had been crippled as they could no longer export and sell freely yet they have enough scientific research to prove that miraa is not dangerous. He added that they are ready to work with the government to ensure the streamlining of their business.