THE Lusaka High Court has dismissed contempt claims by the Democratic Front party against the Registrar of Societies, saying the application is misconceived and lacks sufficient basis for action.
High Court Justice Judy Mulongoti in her ruling yesterday said there was no satisfactory reason to cite the Registrar of Societies for contempt over its decision to deregister the party.
DF secretary general Morgan Ng’ona had filed for contempt proceedings against the Registrar of Societies over de-registration of the party by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“I find no sufficient basis to have the Acting Registrar brought to court or committed for contempt.
“Accordingly, I refuse to grant the leave sought to commence contempt proceedings against the Acting Registrar of Societies,” Ms Justice Mulongiti said.
She said it was flawed that the applicants through their lawyer Gilbert Phiri could claim contentious the refusal by the Registrar to allow them lodge documents.
She explained that in the exparte hearing held in her chambers yesterday, the lawyers relied upon the decision of the registrar to refuse to accept documents from them as contemptuous.
“I am of the considered view that this application is misconceived. The submission by Mr Phiri that the refusal by the Acting Registrar to allow the applicant to lodge documents is contemptuous of my ruling is flawed,” he said.
She explained that the applicant could not file documents which were not considered by the minister at the time he cancelled the certificate, hence found no sufficient basis to grant leave for commencement of proceedings against the Registrar of Societies.
On February 10, 2016, the High Court granted the DF party leave to commence judicial review with an added proviso that the said leave would act as a stay of the decision of the Minister of Home Affairs Davis Mwila to deregister the party.
The court heard that the Acting Registrar on 12 February 2016 disallowed the lodging of Notice of Change of office bearers and minutes evidencing the changes.
Ms Justice Mulongoti has therefore ruled that the DF party and its leadership structures should remain as they were before the action by the minister to cancel its certificate of registration, without any amendments to office bearers as held by the registrar.