Court
court

On December 19, their lawyer Denis Sembuya filed the bill at the Commercial Court in Kampala. On taxation of 18% of value added tax (VAT), the net is sh15b.

Court
court

Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, or ears, in the belief that doing so has a beneficial effect on the organs ? said to be corresponding to the reflex points and areas ? and a person?s general health.

Justifying the sh17b costs, the application states that the case was a lengthy protracted legal battle, where the reflexologists exerted pressure on their lawyers, as their businesses had been ground to a halt.

1000 practitioners

?The applicant?s lawyers had to abandon their other assignments so as to concentrate on the application as the stakes were too high, involved employment and livelihoods which had been arbitrarily brought to an end with the closure of their industry,? the document reads in part.

Their umbrella body United Reflexologists Association of Uganda Limited, together with Alleluia Reflexology Health Solution and Nutrition Centre Limited, are listed as representatives of the reflexologists.

According to court documents, the umbrella body has a membership of over 100 reflexologists. The entire reflexology industry in Uganda is comprised of about 1000 practitioners and centres.

The health minister and government?s chief legal advisor and representative, the Attorney General (AG), are listed as respondents.

The case arose on March 24 2011, when the reflexologists filed an application for judicial review at the court in protest of the ban, contending that the government never accorded them a hearing before their activities were outlawed.

Danger on lives

Judicial review is conducted by the High Court in relation to proceedings plus decisions taken by subordinate courts and inferior tribunals or bodies. The Commercial Court is a division of the High Court.

The ban statement was communicated by the then-health minister, the late Dr Stephen Malinga.

The sanction was premised on an investigation which showed that reflexology centres endangered patients? lives, as most lacked training and operational standards.

The groups that compiled the report include the Uganda medical and dental practitioners? council, nurses and midwives council, allied health professionals council and the pharmacy council.

But in the ruling of Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire (now stationed at the Appellate/Constitutional Court), he pronounced that the ban was based on procedural error.

Kiryabwire noted that although the minister acted in public interest, the practitioners were not given a chance to defend themselves prior to the ban.

In additional justification of the award, the reflexologists assert that the ruling enriched Uganda?s laws and set international precedent on handling and protection of unregulated trade and industries and ancient practices and professions.

?The image of reflexology in Uganda was uplifted internationally by the ruling and Uganda by virtue of judicial precedent by the applicant?s lawyers and Uganda was yet again viewed as a progressive country that respects human rights and upholds rule of law,? the application? states.

When New Vision sought clarification of receipt of the court document, the director civil litigation in the AG?s chambers, Cheborion Barishaki, confirmed that they had been served.

?We received it,? he said.

By Andante Okanya, The New Vision

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