Daniel Nge’tich v. Attorney General of Kenya

Petition No. 3 of 2010
Download Judgment: English
Country: Kenya
Region: Africa
Year: 2010
Court: High Court of Kenya at Eldoret
Health Topics: Hospitals, Infectious diseases, Prisons
Human Rights: Freedom of movement and residence, Right to liberty and security of person
Tags: Custody, Detainee, Detention, Health facilities, Jail, TB, Tuberculosis

The Petitioners suffered from tuberculosis. Pursuant to the Public Health Act, the Nandi Central District Tuberculosis Defaulter Tracing Coordinator ordered their detention in prison for eight months.

The Petitioners claimed their detention violated their rights to administrative action that is expeditious, efficient, lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair, and to freedom of movement under articles 47(1) and 39(1), respectively, of the Constitution.

The Court held that confining the Petitioners to prison was “the worst of choices.” It held that detention for a period of eight months was “unreasonably long,” particularly as it “was not backed by any medical opinion.” The Court wondered why the Petitioners were held in a prison rather than a medical facility, and it questioned whether the Petitioners had in fact committed any crime.

The Court thus held that the detention of the Petitioners in prison was unconstitutional. It further held that such detention was not in compliance with the Public Health Act. The Court ordered the Petitioners to be released to their homes where they would continue treatment for tuberculosis under the supervision of a public health officer.

"It is, in my view, that the G. K. Prison was the worst of choices to confine the petitioners and the period of eight months is unreasonably long seeing that it was not backed by any medical opinion. Why were the petitioners not confined in a medical facility? Why a prison? What is their crime? I find that the action taken was unconstitutional and not even in compliance with the Public Health Act that it was purportedly grounded on."