Court orders consultations on night travel ban

By FRED MAKANA

Kenya: The High Court has suspended the night travel regulations to allow stakeholders formulate new policies.

However, the night travel ban remains in place for the next 60 days to give the Government and public service vehicles (PSVs) operators time to comply with the new regulation.

In his judgment on Friday, Justice George Odunga directed the National Transport and Safety Authority to liaise with PSV operators before the new regulation takes effect.

Justice Odunga said the fine of Sh50,000 imposed for contravention of the new regulation was wrong when the maximum is supposed to be Sh20,000 as stipulated under the Statutory Instruments Act.

Justice Odunga said the National Transport and Safety Authority Regulations 2013 have the effect of cancelling licences issued by Transport Licensing Board invalid, null and void.

“Whereas reasonable conditions can be imposed in the existing licences, the same cannot be unilaterally cancelled and considering the immediate consequences of this declaration on the safety of the public that relies on the public transport, the declaration is hereby suspended to enable relevant State organs to formulate legislative and policy measures,” Justice Odunga stated.

He also stated that prescription of brands of speed governors rather than the standards was a departure from what was expected of the cabinet secretary and hence unlawful. He also ordered the Cabinet Secretary to ensure the new regulations are laid before Parliament within the stipulated period. He said the parties were at liberty to seek any other order.

The contentious Legal Notice 219 was gazetted on December 17 and its enforcement began on December 24 following an announcement by Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli.

In their petition, the applicants, under the umbrella of Kenya Country Bus Owners’ Association claim that the decision to ban the movement of public vehicles at night was done in contravention of the provisions of the current Transport Licensing Board permits which allows the vehicles to operate both day and night.

Through their lawyer, Harrison Kinyanjui, they told the court the ban had negatively impacted on economic activity in the country and led to massive losses by transport operators.

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night travel ban High Court