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Economy

Judges from private practice win first round in salary row

George Odunga
Justice George Odunga during a past hearing. FILE PHOTO / NMG 

Judges hired from private practice have won the first round in the battle for equal pay with colleagues recruited from among the serving magistrates after the court declined to strike out their case.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had urged Justice George Odunga to dismiss a case filed by 20 judges who have alleged pay discrimination.

Judges appointed from private practice joined the Bench with a Sh532,500 monthly salary and a non-practising allowance of Sh13,500 while magistrates were elevated on a higher scale of Sh632,000 together with a non-practising allowance of Sh13,500.

In the case filed by a private citizen Sollo Nzuki, the aggrieved judges decried the Sh100,000 salary difference.

The SRC and JSC had urged that the entire suit be dismissed saying Mr Nzuki has no locus standi (legal right to file the case) on behalf of the aggrieved judges.

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Further, the two commissions wanted the matter to be handled by the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) as it was an employer- employee dispute.

Rejecting the objections Justice Odunga said, “The petitioner, Mr Sollo Nzuki, should be afforded an opportunity to prove the mischief and unconstitutionality of the actions and omissions of the two commissions.”

“The applications to strike out the petition by SRC/JSC dated March 19, 2019 and January 30, 2019 have failed and are dismissed,” ruled Justice Odunga.

The judge said Mr Nzuki has accused JSC of discriminating against judges joining the Bench by categorising them “Judiciary outsiders vs insiders”.

The judges through lawyer Cecil Miller, are urging the court to harmonise the salaries.

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