Court name
HC: Land Division (Uganda)
Judgment date
26 November 2020

Sadrudin Nazarali Nanji v The Registered Trustees of Kampala Archdiocese (Civil Suit-2011/503) [2020] UGHCLD 69 (26 November 2020);

Cite this case
[2020] UGHCLD 69
Coram
Kazaarwe, J

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

IN THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA AT KAMPALA

 (LAND DIVISION)

CIVIL SUIT NO 503 OF 2011

 

SADRUDIN NAZARALI NANJI

(through his attorney AHMED EBRAHIM TEJANI) ---------------PLAINTIFF                                                       

V

 

THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF

KAMPALA ARCHIDIOCESE--------------------------------------------DEFENDANT

 

Before: Hon. Lady Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya

 

                                                  RULING

 

By way of background, the Plaintiff sued the Defendant seeking an eviction order, injunction, general damages and costs in relation to land comprised in FRV 69, Folio 24, Plot 109 land at Kawempe. The suit was filed on the 16th December 2011. In its Written Statement of Defence, filed on the 20th February 2012, the Defendant denied trespass and maintained that the Plaintiff’s interest in the suit land is subject to the Defendant’s prior right of occupancy. After pleadings were closed, the parties conducted joint scheduling and signed a memorandum dated 23rd June 2015.There was some attempt by the parties throughout this period to have the matter settled amicably. On the 29th July 2020, Counsel for the Defendant reported that the attempt at settlement had failed.

 

When this matter came up for mention, on the 6th October 2020, Counsel for the Defendant raised an objection that the Plaintiff has no locus standi to bring this suit and for that reason has no cause of action against the Defendant.

Submissions by Counsel for the Defendant

Counsel for the Defendant, submitted that the Plaint indicated that the suit is brought by the Plaintiff, Mr. Sadrudin Nazarali Nanji suing through his attorney, Mr. Ahmed Ebrahim Tejani in respect of land described in paragraphs 4(a), (k), (i) and 5 of the Plaint as belonging to the Plaintiff. In the Plaint, it is further claimed that the Plaintiff repossessed the suit property and has been in control of it through his attorney.  Counsel added that no certificate of title or repossession documents registered in the name of the Plaintiff were attached to the Plaint since the Plaintiff claimed that the suit property is estate property for which he is an administrator.

 

Relying on Order 7 r 11 (a) and 14 (1) of the Civil Procedure Rules, SI 71-1, Counsel for the Defendant argued that there was no proof that the Plaintiff was the administrator to the registered proprietor’s estate and therefore he had no locus standi to bring this suit and as a result had no cause of action against the Defendant.

 

Submissions in Reply

 

Counsel for the Plaintiff argued that the suit land was registered in the name of the Plaintiff upon the death of Nazarali Nanji the original owner, which information is clearly indicated in the copy of the certificate of title that was attached to the Plaint. He further argued that it was not relevant that the suit land is estate property. The fact is that the Plaintiff, who was registered proprietor at that time, legally appointed Ahmed Ebrahim Tejani as his lawful attorney to prosecute this suit on his behalf. Both the copy of the power of attorney and certificate of title were attached to the Plaint and Counsel for the Plaintiff submitted that the preliminary objection lacked merit and ought to be overruled by this Court.

 

Rejoinder

 

Counsel for the Defendant in rejoinder argued that the suit in respect of land registered in the names of the Administrator of the estate of the late Nazarali Nanji can only be brought by the said administrator. He added that this issue should have been reflected in the plaint and the letters of administration confirming the same attached. Furthermore, Counsel submitted that the power of attorney should have clearly stated that the donor is an administrator and the power to sue ought to have been passed on in his right as administrator and not his personal capacity.

 

Both parties filed written submissions which I have perused.

 

Issue

Whether the Plaintiff has locus standi to bring this suit?

RESOLUTION

Order 7 Rule 14 (1) provides that;

‘Where a plaintiff sues upon a document in his or her possession or power, he or she shall produce it in court when the plaint is presented, and shall at the same time deliver the document or a copy of it to be filed with the plaint.’

 

In the case of Dima Dominic Poro Vs Inyani Godfrey Civil Appeal No.17 of 2016, Justice Stephen Mubiru while dealing with an issue on locus standi stated thus;

“The term locus standi literally means a place of standing. It means a right to appear in court, and, conversely, to say that a person has no locus standi means that he has no right to appear or be heard in a specified proceeding. (see Njau and others v. City Council of Nairobi [1976–1985] 1 EA 397 at 407).”

 

In the instant suit, Paragraph 4(a) of the Plaint reads as follows;

The Plaintiff is the Registered Proprietor of the land comprised in FRV 69, Folio 24, Plot 109 land at Kawempe (copy of the certificate of title is attached hereto and marked annexure, ‘B’’

Annexure ‘B’ indicates that on the 14th March 1995, Mr. Sadrudin Nazarali Nanji of P.O. Box 6724 Kampala as Administrator of the Estate of the Late Nazarali Nanji, (High Court of Uganda at Kampala Administration Cause No. 741 of 1994, was registered as proprietor on the land.

 

This suit is brought in Mr. Sadrudin Nazarali Nanji’s name. The failure to indicate that he brought the suit on behalf of the estate of the late Nazarali Nanji robbed the Plaintiff of the locus standi before this court. He is not the registered proprietor. He is the administrator of the estate of the deceased registered proprietor. The letters of administration to the deceased’ s estate had to be attached and the Plaint had to categorically spell out Mr. Sadrudin’s capacity to sue as administrator. None of this was done.

 

I agree with Counsel for the Defendant. The Plaintiff had no locus standi and the suit is therefore invalid. Preliminary objection is upheld and this suit is dismissed with costs to the Defendant.

 

 

……………………………….

Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya

Judge

26th November 2020

Delivered by email to Counsel for the Plaintiff and the Defendant.

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

IN THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA AT KAMPALA

 (LAND DIVISION)

CIVIL SUIT NO 503 OF 2011

SADRUDIN NAZARALI NANJI

(through his attorney AHMED EBRAHIM TEJANI) ---------------PLAINTIFF                                                       

V

THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF

KAMPALA ARCHIDIOCESE--------------------------------------------DEFENDANT

 

Before: Hon. Lady Justice Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya

 

                                                  RULING

By way of background, the Plaintiff sued the Defendant seeking an eviction order, injunction, general damages and costs in relation to land comprised in FRV 69, Folio 24, Plot 109 land at Kawempe. The suit was filed on the 16th December 2011. In its Written Statement of Defence, filed on the 20th February 2012, the Defendant denied trespass and maintained that the Plaintiff’s interest in the suit land is subject to the Defendant’s prior right of occupancy. After pleadings were closed, the parties conducted joint scheduling and signed a memorandum dated 23rd June 2015.There was some attempt by the parties throughout this period to have the matter settled amicably. On the 29th July 2020, Counsel for the Defendant reported that the attempt at settlement had failed.

When this matter came up for mention, on the 6th October 2020, Counsel for the Defendant raised an objection that the Plaintiff has no locus standi to bring this suit and for that reason has no cause of action against the Defendant.

Submissions by Counsel for the Defendant

Counsel for the Defendant, submitted that the Plaint indicated that the suit is brought by the Plaintiff, Mr. Sadrudin Nazarali Nanji suing through his attorney, Mr. Ahmed Ebrahim Tejani in respect of land described in paragraphs 4(a), (k), (i) and 5 of the Plaint as belonging to the Plaintiff. In the Plaint, it is further claimed that the Plaintiff repossessed the suit property and has been in control of it through his attorney.  Counsel added that no certificate of title or repossession documents registered in the name of the Plaintiff were attached to the Plaint since the Plaintiff claimed that the suit property is estate property for which he is an administrator.

 

Relying on Order 7 r 11 (a) and 14 (1) of the Civil Procedure Rules, SI 71-1, Counsel for the Defendant argued that there was no proof that the Plaintiff was the administrator to the registered proprietor’s estate and therefore he had no locus standi to bring this suit and as a result had no cause of action against the Defendant.

Submissions in Reply

Counsel for the Plaintiff argued that the suit land was registered in the name of the Plaintiff upon the death of Nazarali Nanji the original owner, which information is clearly indicated in the copy of the certificate of title that was attached to the Plaint. He further argued that it was not relevant that the suit land is estate property. The fact is that the Plaintiff, who was registered proprietor at that time, legally appointed Ahmed Ebrahim Tejani as his lawful attorney to prosecute this suit on his behalf. Both the copy of the power of attorney and certificate of title were attached to the Plaint and Counsel for the Plaintiff submitted that the preliminary objection lacked merit and ought to be overruled by this Court.

Rejoinder

Counsel for the Defendant in rejoinder argued that the suit in respect of land registered in the names of the Administrator of the estate of the late Nazarali Nanji can only be brought by the said administrator. He added that this issue should have been reflected in the plaint and the letters of administration confirming the same attached. Furthermore, Counsel submitted that the power of attorney should have clearly stated that the donor is an administrator and the power to sue ought to have been passed on in his right as administrator and not his personal capacity.

Both parties filed written submissions which I have perused.

Issue

Whether the Plaintiff has locus standi to bring this suit?

RESOLUTION

Order 7 Rule 14 (1) provides that;

‘Where a plaintiff sues upon a document in his or her possession or power, he or she shall produce it in court when the plaint is presented, and shall at the same time deliver the document or a copy of it to be filed with the plaint.’

In the case of Dima Dominic Poro Vs Inyani Godfrey Civil Appeal No.17 of 2016, Justice Stephen Mubiru while dealing with an issue on locus standi stated thus;

“The term locus standi literally means a place of standing. It means a right to appear in court, and, conversely, to say that a person has no locus standi means that he has no right to appear or be heard in a specified proceeding. (see Njau and others v. City Council of Nairobi [1976–1985] 1 EA 397 at 407).”

In the instant suit, Paragraph 4(a) of the Plaint reads as follows;

The Plaintiff is the Registered Proprietor of the land comprised in FRV 69, Folio 24, Plot 109 land at Kawempe (copy of the certificate of title is attached hereto and marked annexure, ‘B’’

Annexure ‘B’ indicates that on the 14th March 1995, Mr. Sadrudin Nazarali Nanji of P.O. Box 6724 Kampala as Administrator of the Estate of the Late Nazarali Nanji, (High Court of Uganda at Kampala Administration Cause No. 741 of 1994, was registered as proprietor on the land.

This suit is brought in Mr. Sadrudin Nazarali Nanji’s name. The failure to indicate that he brought the suit on behalf of the estate of the late Nazarali Nanji robbed the Plaintiff of the locus standi before this court. He is not the registered proprietor. He is the administrator of the estate of the deceased registered proprietor. The letters of administration to the deceased’ s estate had to be attached and the Plaint had to categorically spell out Mr. Sadrudin’s capacity to sue as administrator. None of this was done.

 

I agree with Counsel for the Defendant. The Plaintiff had no locus standi and the suit is therefore invalid. Preliminary objection is upheld and this suit is dismissed with costs to the Defendant.

 

 

……………………………….

Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya

Judge

26th November 2020

Delivered by email to Counsel for the Plaintiff and the Defendant.