The High Court sitting in Blantyre has reserved ruling to Wednesday on whether to continue hearing a case in which Richard Msowoya and five other senior members of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) obtained an injunction restraining the party’s National Executive Committee (Nec) from suspending them.
The court convened Tuesday for an inter-partes hearing following its adjournment on February 26 2018 when it was observed that the complainants’ lawyer, Kalekeni Kaphale, had no valid licence.
However, lawyer representing MCP, Robert Nthewa, applied to the court that the case be discontinued.
In his preliminary objections to the application made by the MCP lawyer, Kaphale said Tuesday the defendants made their application later than the recommended two days arguing that the application could not stand.
“We have made an observation that the formal notice that they had filed was served on us on 28th of February at 4:35 pm and according to rules of procedure where a service is done after a particular time period, it is deemed to have been done the following day. Rules also provide that there is need for two clear days’ notice before an interlocutory matter is heard,” he said.
In reaction, Nthewa agreed that they made the application on February 28, 2018 at 04: 35 in the afternoon but simple calculations could show that the defence complied with the two-day notice period as required by the law.
“By observation, we feel that we complied with the two clear days mandate because if they are saying we served them the next day, it means we start calculating from 7:30 or 8:30 and we are talking about 14 working hours which we feel, by today, we have complied with the two-day mandate,” he said.
The objections by the applicants, however, prompted High Court Judge Healey Potani to reserve a ruling to today whether to consider the application by the defendants or let the case proceed with inter-partes hearing.
At the start of the hearing, Kaphale told the court that he has renewed his licence confessing that he was “taken unawares” previously when it was observed that his practising document had expired.
According to Nthewa, if anybody starts an action in court without a licence, the action must be considered null and void.