Man moves to court, wants SIM card registration declared unconstitutional

Man moves to court, wants SIM card registration declared unconstitutional

  • Matindi however claims the directive is in violation and infringement of the Constitution, statutes, regulations, and other applicable laws.
  • According to him, it is unconstitutional to require mobile telephone service subscribers who have already registered their SIM cards with their service provider to register afresh.

A Kenyan living in the United Kingdom has sued the Communication Authority of Kenya over the directive requiring mobile service operators to register their customers afresh.

Eliud Karanja Matindi wants the court to declare the said directive as unconstitutional.

CA had stated that it will suspend SIM cards of customers who fail to register afresh by April 15, 2022.

Matindi however claims the directive is in violation and infringement of the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights), statutes, regulations and other applicable laws.

According to him, it is unconstitutional to require mobile telephone service subscribers who have already registered their SIM cards with their service provider to register afresh.

He also challenges the requirement of natural persons who wish to register as mobile telephone service subscribers to submit to their photographs being taken, processed and retained as a precondition of such registration.

He also claims it is against the Constitution to require mobile telephone service subscribers to disclose all mobile telephone numbers already registered to them, including with other mobile telephone service providers as part of the registration process.

“The petitioner, alongside the other people of Kenya, aspires for a government based on the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law,” reads court documents.

He has named the Communication Authority, ICT Cabinet Secretary, Data Protection Commissioner, as well as the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights  as respondents in the suit.

Others named are; National Gender and Equality Commission, Commission on Administrative Justice, Safaricom, Airtel Networks and Telkom Kenya.

“Under Article 3(1) of the Constitution of Kenya, the Petitioner, the Respondents, the Interested Party and this Honourable Court, are all under an obligation to respect, uphold and defend the Constitution,” states the petition.

He says he instituted the suit in the public interest and that his right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights has been denied, violated or infringed.

He wants Section 5B (5), 27 and 27D, Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998, declared unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.

According to him, the directive might force the mobile operators to suspend the services of any of their subscribers who will not have registered their mobile telephone lines as required from April 15, with deactivation of service 90 days after such suspension, if still not registered.

He notes that the precondition for this fresh registration, all natural persons must submit to have their photographs taken, processed and retained, failure to which will lead to the suspension followed by deactivation 90 days later.

He wants the court to compel the telcos to delete and expunge from their records and systems photographs of persons who are registered mobile subscribers, collected during the registration process.

Justice Hedwig Ong’udi certified the case as urgent and directed him to serve CA and the mobile telephone operators with the court documents within seven days. 

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