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High Court dismisses ‘beer’ petition to halt construction of Sh1.2b centre

The High Court has dismissed a case seeking to stop construction of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) International Arbitration Centre over alleged sale of alcohol.

High Court Judge Justice Isaac Lenaola said in his 41-page ruling that constitutional rights of eight Muslim lawyers who filed the case had not been breached.

“I have found that Article 32 as read with Article 24 of the Constitution have not been violated,” Justice Lenaola ruled.

The International Arbitration Centre will be built in South C will at an estimated Sh1.2 billion.

Eight petitioners who described themselves as members of the Islamic faith and Group Muslim Lawyers Forum had moved to the High Court to stop the construction over alleged sale of alcoholic drinks.

They argued that the project would contain a bar that serves alcoholic drinks which is in violation of their religion.

“The right to practice and manifest a religion or belief is intensely personal to any individual and impacts on all aspects of life including an individual’s personal life,” Justice Lenaola said.

“That they (petitioners) have taken divergent views on the matter only shows the great need for a court to balance individual positions on religion and belief and the rights of others,” Justice Lenaola said.

The Judge made a finding that a resolution was passed during a Special General Meeting for members to contribute towards construction of the International Arbitration Centre.

Ahmednassir Abdullahi who represented LSK in the matter had argued that construction of the arbitration centre has nothing to do with religious beliefs of the petitioners.

“The Court does not have powers to review or interfere with a resolution made by LSK members,” Mr. Ahmednassir argued.