High Court declares order by gov’t restricting public gatherings as illegal

High Court declares order by gov’t restricting public gatherings as illegal

The High Court has declared the order by government last year restricting public gatherings and processions to curb COVID-19 as illegal and unconstitutional. This comes after the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) moved to court last year to challenge the directive. “A declaration be and is hereby issued that all the directives made by the National Security Advisory Committee on 7th October 2020 and ratified by the Cabinet on 5th October 2020 for the use of section 5 of the Public Order Act Cap 56 of the Laws of Kenya to contain, restrict and prohibit public gatherings, meetings and processions in the name of combating Covid-19 and containing the weaponization of public gatherings are unlawful, unconstitutional and in violation of Articles 10(2)(a) and 245(2)(6) and (4) of the Constitution for directing the law enforcement officers on how to discharge their duties,” read the court ruling by Judge A.C Mrima. “An order of Certiorari be and is hereby issued calling into this Court and quashing the entire directives made by the National Security Committee on 7th October 2020 and ratified by the Cabinet on 8th October 2020, for the use of section 5 of the Public Order Act Cap 56 of the laws of Kenya to contain, restrict and prohibit public gatherings, meetings and processions in the name of combating Covid-19 and containing the weaponization of public gatherings.” The court also issued an order restraining Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai or any officer from taking directives from the said National Security Advisory Committee. This comes even as President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday extended the 10pm to 4am nationwide curfew for 60 days, further suspending with immediate effect all physical public gatherings including political rallies and campaign meetings for the same period. “All other social gatherings, including weddings, celebrations of marriage or traditional unions, ceremonies of rites of passage, funeral/cremation ceremonies and all other similar events or ceremonies, shall strictly adhere to the 100-person attendance limit as prescribed,” he said.

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