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Court declares Visa Oshwal a public school

Shree Visa Oshwal Primary is a public school, the High Court has ruled.

The government can now go ahead and remove its registered trustees from the land on which it is built after the ruling by Justice Isaac Lenaola.

The trustees had rushed to the court after they received a six-month notice from the Commissioner of Lands, asking them to surrender the land.

They argued they had always managed the school and that the notice by the lands boss should be declared unconstitutional because it violated their right to protection of their property.

But Justice Lenaola dismissed the petition, saying the school had always been public property since it was registered.

He said the trustees had not refuted evidence that the school had always received teachers from the Teacher Service Commission and was the recipient of government funds for Free Primary Education. 

PTA

Neither did they deny it was managed by the Parents Teachers Association and that its headmaster was appointed by the director of city education, said the judge.

Evidence also showed that the Cabinet Secretary for education had notified them that he intended to compensate them for the buildings they had put in place over the years.

“Having found the condition to be constitutional, the Cabinet Secretary was entitled to give the petitioner notice to surrender the school and seek compensation.

The trustees had claimed that even if the school was deemed to be a public school, that alone cannot quash their right to protection of property.

Acquisition

They further claimed that in failing to follow proper statutory provisions for compulsory acquisition of land, the lands boss contravened the Constitution.

The Attorney General, and Cabinet Secretary for Education, all sued alongside the lands boss, maintained the school was a public institution.

They told the court the petitioners had not demonstrated they had bought the piece of land.

Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko was an interested party in the case.

He claimed the petitioners failed to disclose how they acquired the suit property because it was Crown Land.

He further claimed the issuance of the grant was subject to adherence of the special conditions. 

In 2012, pupils and parents demonstrated over the taking over of the school by the trustees.