Night travel ban appeal case moved to Monday
09 January 2014, 19:38
Nairobi - A petition by country bus owners challenging the government ban on night travel was put on hold to wait the outcome of a similar case filed by four other bus companies.
Justice Weldon Korir directed that due to the existence of another case raising similar issues; it would be in the interest of justice if they hold on until the judgment of the other case scheduled for January 14.
He made the order following arguments by Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau and the National Transport and Safety Authority Board seeking suspension of the hearing pending the judgment.
Through state counsel Stella Munyi, the secretary argued that since the other case is due for judgment next week on Tuesday it would be proper to wait before any directions are taken on the petition by the eight bus owners.
NTSA’s acting director general Isaac Kamau said in his replying affidavit that it would be proper for the case to be mentioned on the same date as the one awaiting judgment to avoid confusion and chaos in the transport industry as well as hamper NTSA’s determination in ensuring safety on roads.
“It would be fair, just and prudent that this matter be mentioned on the same date for further directions to avoid the possibility of conflicting court decisions in respect to the issue which may lead to chaos in the industry and only impede NTSA’s determinations in enhancing road safety,” swore Kamau.
In the application pending judgment, Starlingrad Limited, Sabrin Bus Services, Kukena Sacco Limited and Nairobi Western Sacco Limited are seeking to quash the minister’s directive arguing that they were issued irregularly and have caused them suffer financial loss.
The companies argued that the minister went ahead to impose the travel ban without due regard to NTSA Act since their licenses allowing them to travel at night were valid and had never been revoked.
According to the companies, the decision was discriminatory and oppressive since it does not apply to other transport providers plying the roads at night.
Their grounds are similar to those raised by Kenya Country Bus Owners Association, Mbukinya Bus Service, Crown Bus Service, Kampala Coaches Ltd, Traticom Ltd, Ugwe Bus Services, Trisha Collections Ltd, Panther Travels and Neno Courier Services.
Their lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui however opposed the move to have their case await the outcome of the earlier case arguing that their case is challenging the legal gazette notice of December 17 while the other one seeks an order for the 6pm and 6am rule to be quashed.
According to Mr Kinyanjui, the current licences of the bus owners are valid and that the decision to impose night travel ban was an abuse of power.
The NTSA boss however defended the move saying that it was necessary to come up with regulations that would require operators and owners of PSVs to meet specific requirements for night time operation to enhance safety and reduce accidents occurring at night.
Mr Kamau further argued that the regulations were formulated in consultation with all stakeholders in the PSV industry.
“Every human life is worth protecting through ensuring safety on the roads and the respondents being the custodians of that duty must not watch as road accidents increase and more lives are lost merely because the bus owners have a business interest and are keen to make profits,” he stated.
Justice Korir directed the bus owners’ case be mentioned on January 13, a day before Justice Isaac Lenaola delivers judgment on the earlier suit by the four bus companies.
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