Justice Odunga ruling to level pay for new and sitting judges - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 19 December 2019

Justice Odunga ruling to level pay for new and sitting judges

Justice George Odunga
Fresh Judges appointed to join the Judiciary will earn equal salaries, the high court declared Wednesday in a landmark judgment.
Deciding a case by over 20 judges who had claimed they had been discriminated against by being paid a lower salary, Justice George Odunga ruled “all judges shall be remunerated equally.”
Justice Odunga said all the underpaid judges be remunerated on the same scale and their payments be backdated.
The judges through a private citizen Sollo Nzuki, had alleged they had been discriminated against by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) by being under paid.
Through lawyer Cecil Miller the judges, formally lawyers who were engaged in private practice before joining the judiciary, said they were given a lower salary than magistrates who were appointed to serve in the same capacity.
Mr Miller told Justice Odunga, judges appointed from private practice to join the bench begun with a salary of Sh532,500 per month and a non-practising allowance of Sh13,500.
He said magistrates joining the bench were paid a higher scale of Sh632,000 with a non practising allowance of Sh13,500.
Mr Miller urged the judge to declare that categorisation of judges unconstitutional.
Justice Odunga in his 60-page judgment declared, “the categorization of judges by SCR and JSC of equal status whether they were appointed from outside or within the judiciary is unconstitutional.”
The judge also declared that a letter by SRC dated June 10, 2013, was discriminatory “to the extent that it subjects judges appointed in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to a lesser starting salary than the starting salary of those appointed prior to the said period.”
The judge said both SRC and JSC did not deny the averments by the aggrieved judges.
SRC communicated to the secretary of JSC, Ms Anne Amadi on August 18 2017, setting out the salaries of judges and magistrates.
SRC capped the salary of the Chief Justice at Sh1,327,888 with an entry package of Sh990,000 minus allowances. It set the entry package of the deputy chief justice at Sh821,833 minus allowances and placed a ceiling of Sh1,233,536.
The entry salary of a Supreme Court judge is Sh792,000 minus allowances with ceiling of Sh1,218,535.
Entry salary of Court of Appeal judges is Sh689,224 without allowances. The salary is capped at Sh1,122,759.
A high court judge’s entry package is Sh657,426 and is capped at Sh907,279. A chief magistrate’s entry package is Sh445,500 and capped to Sh650,253.
A senior principal magistrate takes home an entry package of Sh334,125, which rises to Sh480,000.
A principal magistrate gets an entry package of Sh225,000 and is capped to Sh360,000.
A senior resident magistrate has an entry salary of Sh180,000, which increases to Sh300,000.

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