NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – The High Court has been asked to compel Parliament to amend the traffic laws to save Kenyans from paying penalties that have been unlawfully prescribed.
Appearing before Justice Grace Ngenye, City Lawyer Allen Gichuhi stated that Kenyans have been paying billions of shillings for many traffic charges that are duplicated, contrary to the Constitution.
He said that an offence of speeding is incorrectly entered on the charge sheet and an ignorant motorist ends up paying more than Sh300 the mandatory required penalty.
Gichuhi said that the duplication of charge sheets by the prosecution is unconstitutional since it imposes unlawful penalties on Citizens.
The lawyer was making submissions in an application seeking to challenge traffic laws under which motorists are charged and penalized.
According to Gichuhi’s client Ankush Manoj Shah, the prosecution has continuously applied laws which have not been repealed to the detriment of the citizens.
The lawyer argued that Shah was charged on 28 August 2014 before traffic court, Nairobi but declined to plead to the charges as they were duplicated thus attracting more penalties as opposed to the regulations set out in the Traffic Act.
He told the judge that the application before the court raises issues of national importance, as the court is being asked to make guidelines to ensure that the charge sheets prescribes in accordance with the nature of the offence that attract the correct penalty.
“Citizens have been exposed to an illegal penalty and deprived them their right to property as provided for under section 40 of the Constitution,” the lawyer argued.
He stated that the court should act within the maximum penalties, saying it is unconstitutional for a person to be charged with a nonexistent offence which denies them the liberty to enjoy the least severe of the prescribed punishment.
Gichuhi further stated the courts will have fewer cases as citizen will opt to pay the correct fine paid as prescribed under section 43 of Traffic Act which is Sh300 for speed in exceeding limit of 50kph.
He said that the Traffic (Minor Offences) rules of 1975 were last amended in 1984, saying the same has not been repealed thus giving arise to stringent bail terms imposed on citizen who ends up unlawfully incarcerated in remand prison.
The court will deliver its judgment on November 29.