20 May 2014

Kenya: Tint Order Is Only for Public Vehicles, Judge Rules

Nairobi — The High Court on Tuesday ruled that Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo's directive that vehicles with tinted windows be impounded only applies to Public Service Vehicles (PSVs) and not private cars, pending the determination of a suit filed by motorist Akitch Okola.

Justice George Odunga found that Kimaiyo did not hold the powers to make such a blanket directive and directed that his orders be limited to PSVs.

"The directive is well intended but his powers are limited. The court is therefore compelled to grant the orders sought by the petitioner pending hearing and determination of the case," Odunga ruled.

Okola who appeared before Odunga under a certificate of urgency wants the constitutional court to make the confines of the relevant legal provision abundantly clear and argued that the right of motorists to privacy would be infringed should the court fail to suspend Kimaiyo's directive.

"Under the said rules, PSVs are barred from being fitted with tinted windows and the same does not apply to private owned vehicles," Okola argued.

Despite Kimaiyo's clarification that he intended the directive to only apply to PSVs, there were reports of private cars being impounded by his officers for having tinted windows. READ: Motorists arrested despite Kimaiyo clarification on tints.

Kimaiyo gave the directive in response to the spate of terror attacks in the country, especially involving both public and privately owned vehicles.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and even the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) have said Kimaiyo was acting in excess of his powers and outside the law.

"The respondent purported to amend a subsidiary legislation and therefore acted unlawfully," Okola argued.

LSK has even gone as far as offering free legal aid to drivers of privately owned vehicles arrested for having tinted windows. READ: LSK to defend motorists over 'illegal' tint order.

"The Inspector General of Police is wrong in his interpretation of the Traffic Act Chapter 403 of the Laws of Kenya and the Traffic Rules on tinted car windows. His decree and declaration that all vehicles including private vehicles should not be fitted with tinted windows is unlawful and cannot be enforced in any court of law," LSK Chairman Eric Mutua stated.

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