Blow to Rawal, Tunoi as JSC rejects negotiations on retirement age

Rawal Tunoi

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has rejected mediation on the retirement age of Judges at 70 years of age.

JSC Vice Chair Prof. Margaret Kobia says the matter is a constitutional issue and not negotiable, dealing a major blow to Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal and Justice Philip Tunoi who had challenged their retirement at 70 years.

In a statement, JSC argued that the commission has no jurisdiction to extend the tenure and retirement age of judges.

“This particular issue has been heard and determined by a total of twelve Judges of the Superior Courts who have all reached a unanimous determination that the retirement age is 70 years. Five in the High Court and seven in the Court of Appeal,” read the statement from the JSC in part.

“The Commission does have the power to confer a benefit or Service which has already been extinguished by the Constitution and confirmed by the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The Judicial Service Commission has subsequently conveyed its decision to the LSK in the presence of its lawyers that because of the above reasons, it is not amenable to mediation.”

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Isaac Okero, who led mediation talks between JSC and LSK on the matter, however, said they continue pushing for an out of court settlement in the case by Rawal and Tunoi who want to retire at 74 and not 70 years as stipulated by the Constitution.

“The weekend is long, I still need to have further meetings with the parties involved and so I have no comment to make at this stage, but there will be more to be said at the conclusion of this weekend on Monday morning,” said Okero.

The mediation proposal arose out of an appeal by Rawal and Tunoi at the Supreme Court challenging their retirement.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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