NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 — Chief Justice Martha Koome on Tuesday joined India’s Supreme Court bench during a hearing on a constitutional court on invitation of her host Chief Justice Dhananjaya Chandrachud.
Koome formed the Constitutional Bench comprising five Indian justices recording history as the first woman Chief Justice of Kenya to take part in such proceedings.
The court had convened for a scheduled hearing in the Shiv Sena case where factions within the right-wing to far-right Marathi regionalist and Hindu ultranationalist political party have been battling for the control of the outfit founded in 1966.
“We are very honoured to have in our midst Chief Justice Martha Koome, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya. Not the least of her achievements is that she is the first woman chief justice of the country,” Chandrachud said while welcoming Koome’s delegation.
The Indian Chief Justice lauded Koome’s wealth of knowledge in constitutional law.
“She is a judge of high erudition, who has written extensively including on issues pertaining to constitutional law in India,” he said.
Basic structure doctrine
Chandrachud singled out Koome’s decision, in March 2022, on the application of the basic structure doctrine in Kenya. The decision followed a the constitutional petition on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that saw the constitutional review process championed by then President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga annulled.
“She recently wrote a judgment on the extent to which basic structure doctrine will apply in Kenya,” he stated.
Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Mahesh Jethmalani also extended Koome a welcome on behalf of the bar.
Koome had at the beginning of her visit to India called on President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan at the official residence, the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Murmu described Kenya as a centuries-old friend saying India was proud to be Kenya’s development partner.
She said India was eager to maintain the tradition of high-level engagement with President William Ruto’s administration.