Court dismisses lease dispute case by Delmonte, says lacks jurisdiction

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The constitution and human rights division court has dismissed a case filed by Delmonte against Murang’a County government for declining to renew lease for land which the company sits.

Justice Kanyi Kimondo, Chacha Mwita and Wilfrida Okwany ruled that the court lacks jurisdiction to determine the petition.

“We accordingly order that the petition dated September 18 ,2015 be and hereby struck out”, ruled the three judge bench.

Delmonte had accused Murang’a County government of refusing to renew the lease and violating the their rights.

The bench found and held that the dominant issue in the petition is the right to renewal of leases over the suit land which falls squarely on the purview of the Environment and Lands Court (ELC).

“We also found that although the petitioner claims violation of various constitutional rights, those claims are intertwined in the dominant issue and that the ELC has jurisdiction to deal with the violations,” the bench ruled.

The judges were not persuaded by the petitioners argument that merely because it pleaded violations of various constitutional rights, the petition should be heard by the high court.

Issues found for determination by the judges are whether the court has jurisdiction to entertain the petition and whether the petitioner exhausted alternative remedies before lodging the petition.

Muranga County government and attorney general opposed that the court had jurisdiction to hear and determined the petition and that Article 162 of the constitution and section 13 of the Environment and Land Court Act vest the jurisdiction to the ELC court.

But in a ruling made on October 1,2016 by the late Justice Joseph Onguto declined to transfer the matter to ELC Court.