A High Court in Nairobi has ordered the government to refund money collected from individuals who were placed under mandatory quarantine.
Justice James Makau on Thursday, December 3 ruled that it was illegal to force people into quarantine centers without court orders.
“Decision to quarantine members of the public without an order of the magistrate and forcing them to pay is contrary to the Public Health Act and therefore unconstitutional,” the judge ruled.
Justice Makau stressed that the State, through the Ministry of Health, should refund in full the money collected from members of the public.
The judge observed that the government violated the rights of those who were forced to go into quarantine after traveling from abroad.
The court made the ruling in a case that was filed by activist lawyer Okiya Omtatah in April 2020.
Omtatah had argued that CS for Health issued Legal Notice No. 46 of 3rd April 2020 and Legal Notice Nos. 50, 51, 52, and 53 of 6th April 2020, requiring travelers to cater for their own quarantine costs, without both public participation and parliamentary approval, being in violation of the constitution.
“There is no power under Section 27 for the government to require persons whom it believes are not accommodated in such a manner as is adequate to guard against the spread of the disease to meet some or any of the costs of providing the required adequate accommodation.
“The government broke the law by failing to ensure the people it had forced into quarantine were adequately accommodated,” Omtatah submitted.