- Supreme Court has ruled that holding virtual court proceedings is constitutional
- The apex court held that suits challenging the legality of virtual courts are premature as the National Assembly are still in the process of amending the constitution to that effect
- According to the court, judges across the country should continue to conduct virtual proceedings
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The Supreme Court, Nigeria's apex court, has held that holding virtual court sittings in the country, is constitutional at the moment.
Lagos and Ekiti state governments had approached the apex court to determine whether virtual court sittings are constitutional or not.
The Nation reports that a seven-man panel of the court, however, held that the suits filed by the two states were premature.
Legit.ng gathers that the court said judges across the country should continue to conduct virtual proceedings, where it is comfortable for them, until the National Assembly concludes its ongoing-effort to amend the constitution to accommodate virtual hearing.
The court said challenging the constitutionality or otherwise of virtual court proceedings when the National Assembly is still in the process of amending the constitution or enact a law to that effect is premature.
Addressing the apex court, the attorney general of Lagos state, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), argued that the case by his state was to prevent a situation where, after virtual sittings are conducted, they would be declared unconstitutional.
On his part, the attorney general of Ekiti state, Olawale Fapohunda (SAN), explained that the suit by his state was to put certainty to the current uncertainty about the constitutionality or otherwise of virtual court proceedings.
Fapohunda said judges in his state are reluctant to sit and conduct virtual proceedings because they are afraid that their decisions and proceedings could be declared unconstitutional on appeal.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, who led the seven-man panel said: “Just let us wait for the National Assembly whether what they will come up with go against the practice direction issued by Chief Judges of the states and the National Judicial Council (NJC) on virtual sitting.”
Justice Vivour said it is after the National Assembly has passed its pending bill seeking to include virtual sitting in the constitution that can anybody challenge the constitutionality or otherwise of such enactment.
Legit.ng had earlier reported that the Lagos state government dragged the federal government and the National Assembly to Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of virtual hearings and ascertain if the proceedings are lawful.
Respondents in the suit included Malami and the National Assembly.
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