JUDGE STAYS PUT IN TRAFFIC RULES SUIT.

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High court Judge Justice George Odunga.

BY SAM ALFAN

National Transport and Safety Authority has suffered a major setback, after high court judge declined to disqualify himself from hearing the application challenging regulation on public transport vehicles.
Justice George Odunga said the application by the Authority to asking him to disqualify himself from the case was made in bad faith and without giving sufficient reasons to refer the matter another judge.
He said referring the matter to another judge has sought by the Authority is like shopping for a court which will give a different decision in its favor.
The court said that all judges are equal and have sworn to deliver justice without fear or favor.
“There is no right for litigant to decide which judge should hear the application on any disputed matter” said justice odunga
The judge held the submission of Harrison Kinyanjui, that a part who is aggrieved by the decision of the court can appeal, but to ask the presiding judge disqualify from hearing the matter..
Further attempt by the Authority to have the court stay its decision on disqualification was also declined instead the judge proceeded to give directions on the hearing of the main application which he said should be heard on July1.

NtionalTransport and Safety Authority filed an application seeking justice Odunga disqualify himself from hearing the case challenging new transport regulations since he already handled a related case that touched on the alleged night travel ban.
The authority was reacting to the Transport Cabinet Secretary’s admission over the irregularly passed transport regulations and filed an application seeking judge Odunga to excuse him with the case.
Authority said it had no integrity allegations with judge Odunga but only felt that another judge should handle the matter.
“If this matter must be heard then let it go to another judge, we are not questioning your integrity, the only reason is that you have heard this matter before, ruled on it, issued orders based on the regulations, just allow this to be heard by someone else,” said Mr Agwara.
In the document presented by State lawyer Emmanuel Bitta, Eng Kamau agrees that the new regulations on transport were passed without being tabled before parliament and did not notify the court through his Principal Secretary during the hearing of a case filed by bus owners seeking the suspension of night travel ban.
Eng Kamau however said that while drafting the said regulations which were published on a
Gazette notice as 23 of 2014 he was in consultation with the office of the Attorney General who gave him an approval in a bid to ensure public safety.
He said he therefore had the right powers to initiate the same although it was purely an unintentional omission that Mr Bitta who was representing him was not aware of the published rules in the Kenya gazette.
“I was constrained to promulgate Legal Notice 23 of 2014 to ensure that there were subsisting regulations that would ensure public safety was safeguarded, my office consulted with the drafting department in the office of the AG who approved the same,” he said.
“I was informed by the Principal Secretary that the said regulations may not have been submitted to parliament within the time prescribed and the outcome of the same would be null and void,” he added.
However he insisted that the said notices were later placed before parliament for approval.
He denied being aware that the case filed by bus owners on night travel regulations had been finalized despite his actions.
“I was not aware that this Court had heard the case to conclusion and was in the process of writing it’s ruling when the notice on the regulations was published; I was informed that this case raised concern over the said regulations on whether the same had been tabled before Parliament within the period required,” he said in court documents.
And this means that an order granted by Justice Odunga on April 14 lifting the alleged night travel ban is still in force hence public service operators can continue with their businesses as before.
Further attempt by the Authority to have the court stay its decision on disqualification was also declined instead the judge proceeded to give directions on the hearing of the main application which he said should be heard on July1.

 

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