1.This ruling is in respect of the notice of motion application dated 5h June, 2022. It is brought pursuant to order 40 rule 1,2,3 and 4 of the Civil Procedure Rules section 1A,1B,3A and 63 (c) of the Civil Procedure Act Cap 21 laws of Kenya and Article 21,22,25 (c) 40 and 50 (1) of the Constitution of Kenya in which the exparte Applicants seek the following orders:i.That the interested party herein Dominic Mwangagi, be and is hereby cited for contempt, convicted and committed to Civil Jail for a period of six (6) months, or such other sentence as may be found just and fair in circumstances for deliberately and persistently disobeying the Honourable Court’s Orders which was issued on March 24, 2022.ii.Thatthe Honourable Court be pleased to cite the interested party named herein above, their agents, and/or servants for contempt for breaching the court orders issued on March 24, 2022.iii.Thatthis Honourable Court be pleased to grant any other or further orders geared towards protecting the dignity and authority of the court.iv.The orders issued herein by this Honourable Court be served upon the OCS Kathwana Police Station for compliance.v.Thatthe interested party be condemned to bear the costs of this application.
2.The application is based on the grounds in the face of the motion and supported by affidavit of Fredrick Gitonga sworn on June 5, 2022. The said grounds are inter alia, that the subject matter herein is land parcel No Kamwimbi/adj Set No 804, which is in possession of the exparte applicants since time in immemorial.
3.The applicants aver that on March 24, 2022 an authorized Court process server received orders issued by the Court on March 31, 2022 for service upon the interested party and the process server duly effected the service.
4.The applicants further aver that the interested party has deliberately disobeyed the Court Orders issued on March 31, 2022 by entering into parcels No, LR Kamwimbi/Adj.section No 804 and cutting down trees as well as destroying beehives which has caused damage to the Applicants. It is therefore the applicants’ contention that the interested party herein is in breach of Court Orders issued on March 24, 2022.
5.The applicants aver that the acts of the interested party have been reported to the police on several occasions to help them enforce the Court Orders but they have chosen to ignore and/disregard the orders.
6.The Applicants state that court orders should be obeyed at all times and that the servants, agents and/or family members of the Interested party were requested to stop causing destruction on the suit premises but they have turned hostile and continued with the acts. It is the applicants’ contention that the case is a test case about impunity and respect for the rule of law and due process.
7.Thatthe ex parte Applicants aver that, as a result of the trespass by the interested party, the exparte applicants have continued to suffer massive loss and damage as well as mental anguish together with loss of use of their land and a sense of insecurity.
8.That unless the interested party is restrained from trespassing and/or entering, destroying, damaging the properties thereof the exparte Applicants will suffer irreparable damage and great loss. The applicants aver that the interested party herein is in fragrant and blatant disobedience of this Honourable Court’s Orders issued on March 24, 2022 that the minister’s decision be stayed from implementation for a period of one year.
9.Thatthe interested party continues to act in contempt of the court order issued on March 24, 2022 as he cut down trees, selling, making charcoals, destroying beehives and causing damage thereof.
10.Thatthe Honourable Court’s dignity has greatly been undermined and eroded by the said acts of the interested party and that it is in the interest of justice that the interested party be punished for being in contempt of the Court orders issued on March 24, 2022 for they were not issued in vain.
11.In the supporting affidavit the deponent has annexed a copy of the affidavit of service dated April 4, 2022, a copy of the order, a copy of OB Number and a copy of a letter from the OCS Kathwana Police Station to the sub-county Agriculture Officer as well as Photographs of the trees that were allegedly cut down and the beehives destroyed.
12.The applicants aver that the interested party has totally ignored, disregarded and/or disobeyed the said court orders and has gone ahead to instruct one Zakayo Mugo to carry out the acts complained of.
13.In opposing the application, the interested party filed grounds of opposition dated July 7, 2022. It is the interested party’s contention that the application is fatally defective and bad in law for the reasons that the application is non-justiciable and moot on account of the fact that the exparte applicants have misconstrued the nature, extent and import of the order of stay of execution on March 24, 2022 and that order 40(3) (1) of the Civil Procedure Rules relating to the consequences of disobedience or breach of a court order is inapplicable in judicial review proceedings. Therefore, the interested party prays that the application be dismissed with costs.
14.The court, with the consent of the parties directed that the application be canvassed through written submissions.
15.The exparte Applicants submitted that the law guiding the present Application is Order 40 Rule 3(1) of the Civil Procedure Rules which stipulates as follows:
16.The exparte Applicants further submitted that non-compliance with court orders or judgments and the appropriate sanctions to be applied in cases of such disobedience is a question that has been litigated upon in our courts and that as far as such circumstances are concerned, whenever the question of contempt of court has arisen, the first port of call has been Section 5 of the Judicature Act, Cap 8 which provides nothing more than to remind the courts that the law to be applied is that applied in England. The said section reads as follows:Contempt of court1.The High Court and the Court of Appeal shall have the same power to punish for contempt of court as is for the time being possessed by the High Court of Justice in England, and such power shall extend to upholding the authority and dignity of subordinate courts. (2) An order of the High Court made by way of punishment for contempt of court shall be appealable as if it were a conviction and sentence made in the exercise of the ordinary original criminal jurisdiction of the High Court.
17.The exparte Applicants submit that for one to succeed in a contempt of court application, they must prove that an order exists, the contents and nature of the order is well within the knowledge of the Respondent and that the Respondent has failed to comply with the terms stipulated in the order and to buttress that they relied on the case of High Court of South Africa in the case of Kristen Carla Burchell v Barry Grant Burchell, Eastern Cape Division Case No 364 of 2005 which held that to succeed in civil contempt proceedings, the applicant has to prove:(i)the terms of the order,(ii)Knowledge of these terms by the Respondent,(iii)Failure by the Respondent to comply with the terms of the order
18.The exparte Applicants submitted that to prove the first principle, they submitted that an order was given by the court on March 24, 2022 which stated among other orders that;
19.The exparte Applicants submitted that they followed the orders and commenced Judicial Review proceedings by filing Chuka JR ELC Case No E006 0F 2022.
20.The exparte Applicant stated that the second principle is the knowledge of the terms by the parties, and submitted that the Interested Party was served with among other documents the said orders issued by the court by a licensed court process server on April 4, 2022 and an affidavit of service filed. It is submitted that the substance of the common law is still applicable under Section 3 of the Judicature Act and the applicants submitted that they are guided by the applicable English Law which is Part 81 of the English Civil Procedure Rules of 1998 as variously amended, and the requirement for personal service of court orders in contempt of Court proceedings as found in Rule 81.8 of the English Civil Procedure Rules.
22.The exparte Applicants submitted that it is clear from the affidavit of service that the interested party was properly served and was served in person hence was aware of the court order for stay of execution of the decision of the minister.
23.The exparte Applicants submitted on the third principle which is failure by the interested parties to comply with the terms of the order and stated that despite the Interested Party being aware of the court orders staying the execution of the minister’s decision, the Interested party has gone ahead to cut down trees, remove beehives and burning charcoal in the suit parcel of land.
25.The exparte Applicants submitted that they have proved that there was a court order issued by this Honorable Court and the Interested party was well aware of the terms of the court orders and he failed to obey the said court orders. The exparte Applicants further submitted that the interested party should be cited for contempt of court orders and be punished for disobeying the said court orders.
26.The exparte Applicants prayed that the court grants orders for the interested party to be cited for contempt of court orders and be punished for disobeying court orders
27.The interested party submitted that the order alleged to have been breached specifically stayed the execution of the decision of the Minister delivered on February 13, 2022 in Appeal Case No 125 of 2018 and granted the exparte applicants leave to institute judicial review proceedings.
28.The interested party stated that the exparte applicant’s complaint is that the interested party is in contempt of those orders for allegedly entering the suit properties and cutting down trees and argues that the stay of execution order was directed at the Minister’s decision.
29.The interested party submitted that the order of stay of execution as granted was meant to ensure that the decision of the Minister is not implemented by the Ministry of Lands officials and that it has no relation with the use and occupation of land, which he argued is beyond the purview of judicial review proceedings.
30.Further, the interested party submitted that the exparte applicants placed reliance on order 40 Rule 3 of the Civil Procedure Rules and submitted that the said provision is aimed at punishing parties for the disobedience of an order of temporary injunction, arguing that in the instant case, no orders of temporary injunction are in force to enable the exparte applicants move the court as such.
31.The interested party submitted that Judicial Review proceedings being sui generis in nature, the provisions of the Civil Procedure rules, 2010 are inapplicable; the fact that the procedure to institute the same is domiciled therein notwithstanding.
33.The interested party submitted that the application before the court for consideration is incompetent, lacks merit and the same should be dismissed with costs.
34.I have considered the application and the submissions herein. The Applicants herein contend that the orders of the court that were issued on March 24, 2022 were disobeyed by the interested party. The issues that call for determination are whether the interested party is in contempt of the said court orders and whether the exparte applicants are entitled to the orders sought herein.
35.It is not in dispute that the court issued orders on March 24, 2022 and the same were as follows:
37.A stay suspends or stops the proceedings that are challenged by the application for judicial review, its purpose being to preserve the status quo pending determination of the judicial review proceedings.
39.I have perused the Affidavit of service annexed to the affidavit in support of the application herein. It is not in dispute that the interested party herein was duly served and accepted service of the said orders of court by signing the principal copy. Further, the application has only been opposed by the interested party by way of grounds of opposition. The interested party has not controverted the averments made by the Applicants herein in the affidavit in support of the application. There is therefore no dispute that the orders were personally served on the interested party and the interested party had knowledge of the terms of the orders and failed to comply with the terms of the orders which stopped implementation of the minister’s decision.
40.The court will only punish for contempt if satisfied that the terms of the order were clear and unambiguous and the contemnor had proper notice of the terms of the order. In my view, the terms of the orders were very clear. The interested party was prohibited against implementing or enforcing the offensive recommendation and the decision contained in the proceedings of Appeal to the Minister No 125 of 2018 delivered on the January 13, 2022 and certified on March 9, 2022 by the Director of Land Adjudication Nairobi in relation to parcel No 804. The interested party submitted that the order of stay of execution as granted is meant to ensure that the decision of the Minister is not implemented by the Ministry of Lands officials and it has no relation with the use and occupation of land, which he argues is beyond the purview of judicial review proceedings. I am however not persuaded by that argument. In my view, the orders prohibited everyone from implementing the said decision. It cannot be said that the orders were only directed to the ministry of lands officials.
41.From the evidence before me, I am satisfied that the interested party has disobeyed the said court orders.
43.Clearly, this court’s orders still remain in force, hence I find no difficulty in finding that the interested party were obliged to comply with the said orders.
45.In the case of Awadh v Mambu (No 2) No 53 of 2004 (2004) KLR 458 it was stated as follows:
47.A court order is binding on the party against whom it is addressed and until set aside remains valid and is to be complied with. Willful and fragrant disobedience of court orders undermines the authority and dignity of the courts and must be dealt with firmly so that the court’s authority is not brought to disrepute.
48.In the result, and applying the above principles, and considering the circumstances of this case and the material placed before this court, I find that the application has merit. The applicants have satisfied me that there was disobedience of the orders of court issued on March 24, 2022, and I find the interested party guilty of contempt. Consequently, the notice of motion application dated June 5, 2022 is allowed in the following terms:a.The Interested party is found to be in contempt of court orders given on March 24, 2022.b.The Officer Commanding Police Station (OCS) Kathwana Police Station is directed to arrest Dominic Mwangangi, the Interested Party herein and produce him before this court for purposes of mitigation and sentencing.c.The matter shall be mentioned on a date to be given by the court for further orders.d.Costs of the application are awarded to the applicants to be borne by the Interested Party.e.It is so ordered.