The High Court has ordered that the Siaya county government be enjoined as a respondent in a petition seeking to exhume the body of a victim of Covid 19.
The Siaya High Court Judge, Roseline Aburili also adjourned the hearing of the petition to April 24, 2020 to allow the lawyer for the family to amend the petition and enjoin the County Executive Committee Member for Health and Sanitation on behalf of the Siaya county government, as one of the respondents.
Justice Aburili, in her ruling delivered in a Siaya Court on Friday, noted that since public health was a devolved function, it would only be fair to have the county government brought in.
The ruling followed an application by Deputy Chief State Counsel, Janet Lang’at on behalf of the Attorney General, who told the court that she required more time to respond to the petition by the family of the late James Oyugi Onyango who sought for exhumation and autopsy of the late Kenya Ports Authority employee.
The family, through lawyer Otieno Ambala, has sued the Ukwala location chief, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Attorney General, among others and wants the court to order the respondents to bear the cost of both the exercise and the petition.
Lawyer Lang’at had told the court that the Attorney General was only served on Wednesday at night and that the office did not have time to contact the county government of Siaya for details and support documents, given that health was a devolved function.
“It was not possible to get witness statements and relevant material to draft response within eight hours,” she told the court.
The family lawyer, Ambala together with the Law Society of Kenya advocate, Sam Onyango pleaded with the court to take cognisance of the fact that the matter was urgent and required to be disposed of expeditiously.
Ambala said that delays in determining the matter may affect the results of the autopsy and biopsy that the family was praying for.
He further prayed to the court to allow him amend the petition and include the county executive committee member for health as the fourth respondent.
Justice Aburili ordered that the family lawyer amends the petition and serves it to the Attorney General and other respondents within the next three days.
“The petitioner is granted leave to amend the petition to enjoin the CEC health and serve the respondents within three days, weekend included,” she ruled.
By Philip Onyango