Category Archives: Legislation

Drive slow, drive safe & don’t receive penalties

Lately I noticed a strong presence of police officers, particularly on roads through sugar cane fields, right after a round-about, where visibility of an officer would be poor from several metres away.

I am writing this because I had to pay a fine for driving above the prescribed speed limit. No! I was not racing. I was driving at a comfortable speed not to doze off on the wheel especially when one is surrounded by green fields on both sides. Alas, what I considered a comfortable and safe speed was unfortunately above the 60 km/h speed limit on that road. I was driving at 76 km/h.

I discourage drivers from speeding, not just to avoid a fine, but for the safety of people using the road.

Since the past two weeks I have been trying to keep my focus on the road while driving slow; that is not to fall asleep. Music helps with that.

What does the law say?

Section 124 of the Road Traffic Act mentions the speed limit. In particular paragraph (4)(a) states that:

Any person who drives a motor vehicle on a road at a speed exceeding a prescribed limit shall commit an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding 5,000 rupees or, in case of a third or subsequent conviction, to a fine exceeding Rs 10,000 rupees.

I was not aware of Section 124(4)(b) until today.

An offender under paragraph (a) shall not be liable to be convicted solely on the evidence of one witness to the effect that, in the opinion of that witness, the offender was driving the motor vehicle at any particular speed.

In most cases of speeding drivers either receive a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) by a police officer or receive a Photographic Enforcement Device Notice by post. In the case of the former, if a driver refuses to accept the offence and he/she does not pay the fixed penalty then criminal proceedings are instituted against the driver; where of course the driver may plead "not guilty" and defend himself/herself. I was told so by the police officer issuing the FPN and it corroborates with Section 193 of the Road Traffic Act.

A fixed penalty must be paid within 21 days of notice.

Source: Seventh Schedule of the Road Traffic Act (Mauritius)

The amounts for the fixed penalties for exceeding speed limits were increased in a proposed amendment of the Road Traffic Act in 2018, such that the new penalties became:

  • Rs 2,500 for exceeding speed limit by not more than 15 km/h.
  • Rs 5,000 for exceeding speed limit by more than 15 but not more than 25 km/h.
  • Rs 10,000 for exceeding speed limit by more than 25 km/h.

In order to pay for a fixed penalty, the driver should attend the appropriate Court as specified in the FPN, produce his/her original driving license and National Identity Card, and pay the specified fine.

Payments are done at the Cash Office of the District Courts, between 09h30 - 12h00 and 13h00 - 14h30 on Monday to Friday. The Moka District Court's Cash Office is open on Saturdays also between 09h30 - 11h00. District Courts are closed on Sundays and public holidays.

In case the last day to pay a fine falls on a Sunday or public holiday then payment can be done the next day without any further penalty. Otherwise, the fine amount is doubled if the last day is missed. 🥺

New legislation to replace the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act in Mauritius

The latest Cabinet decisions, of 24 July 2020, mention the Cabinet's approval for the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation to issue instructions to the Attorney General's office for repealing the current Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act in order to draft a new a legislation that meets with the evolution of technology and the internet.

This new legislation should accommodate;

  • new offences for new types of threats and conditions in the cyberspace,
  • reinforced provisions for critical information infrastructure,
  • investigation procedures,
  • international co-operation against cyberthreats,
  • international best practices,
  • provisions of Conventions to which Mauritius has adhered such as the Budapest and the African Union Conventions on cybersecurity,
  • provisions for alignment with the new proposed National Cybersecurity Strategy.

Facebook user in Mauritius arrested for calling Member of Parliament a “dirtbag” in her timeline post

This morning l'express reported on its website that a Facebook user, Farihah Ruhomaully, was arrested after having commented on her timeline post, calling a Member of the National Assembly, Tania Diolle, an "opportuniste dirtbag".

Image source: lexpress.mu article

Since amendments were made to the ICT Act of Mauritius, politicians, mainly Members of the National Assembly have grown "sensitive" to comments made about them on social networks and they show almost zero tolerance to critics that contain harsh words.

What does the ICT Act say?

Section 46(h) of the Information and Communication Technologies Act 2001 of Mauritius states the following;

Any person who —
uses, in any manner other than that specified in paragraph (ga), an information and communication service, including telecommunication service, —

(i) for the transmission or reception of a message which is grossly offensive, or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or

(ii) which is likely to cause or causes annoyance, humiliation, inconvenience, distress or anxiety to that person;

(iii) for the transmission of a message which is of a nature likely to endanger or compromise State defence, public safety or public order; shall commit an offence.

In December 2018 the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote that the amendments to the ICT Act of Mauritius poses risks to the freedom of expression.

Provisional Charge

The provisional charge is a criminal procedure law that dates back to the British Colonial Rule of 1852. The Deputy of Public Prosecutions, Satyajit Boolell, wrote in a newsletter in 2015 that "although no reference to a provisional charge is made in our statute books, it has survived as a settled practice and is probably unique to Mauritius."

Ministry of Commerce removes the price control over certain products

It has been a month now since the sanitary curfew has been lifted in Mauritius and "things" have gradually started to take a normal course; or we are rather accepting the "new normal" trend.

The Government had laid strict guidelines for businesses previously but now they have been easing most of the restrictions. The latest being the removal of price control over certain products which the Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Protection had imposed after receiving complaints of pricing malpractices by supermarkets and shops owners during the curfew period.

As per the cabinet decisions of 3 July 2020, published on the Prime Minister Office's website, the cabinet has "noted" that cases of abusive prices have decreased and thus cabinet decided to remove certain products from the price control. These products include:

  • Butter
  • Spreads and margarine
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Processed cheese
  • Pasta
  • Pulses
  • Baby and adult diapers

Why the COVID-19 Bill is nothing new?

Just my 2 cents as regards the new COVID-19 Bill. To me, when you compare it to the complexity of the Biometric Identity Case [1] back in 2014, it is a futile battle. Ish Sookun was among the few Mauritians who fought the battle, sacrificed part of his career, and even went to jail for poking his nose in matters that I think should not be opened. If you remember his ordeal [2], you'd probably understand why the COVID-19 Bill is totally pointless and how you're being hypocrites [3]. Thanks to Sanjeev Teeluckdharry the case went to the Privy Council but unfortunately, the State won the case and now everyone is forced to give their biometric information.

It was only a very few who were concerned at that time. Later, the government spent around Rs 19 billion on the Safe City Project which breaches basic human privacy but no one came forward to contest the project. Did we?

Hidden Agendas

It was the same Roshi Badhain [4] who was the advocate of PKJ. The one who stood for the Government at that time. Today, he's on the side of the table questioning the integrity of the Government. I'll let you take our your own conclusions. Hidden Agenda? Roshi Badhain was the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation at the same time when Ish Sookun was arrested. Roshi Badhain was totally in favour of the MNIC case which gives power to the government to handle your biometric information and today, he's saying that the government is giving more power to the Police Force. Which is which here? Contradiction.

Everyone have their (hidden) agenda. As soon as it does NOT concern you, you won't do anything. Bunch of hypocrites, that's who you all are.

Don't call me anti-patriotic because I'm not part of the battle, I'm just fed up being part of the same people working and voicing out again and again, while the people who should be concerned are the majority of our population. I was part of bigger battles, but when you look back at the end of the day, there's nobody to support you, why should I do something now?

Now it's definitely out of the question to give police more power. I totally object to this. The MPF is a fully funded institution using taxpayers' money. They are recruited under the Commission on Public Service. Do whatever you want it isn't going to change. The day the MPF becomes an independent institution, that's the day you'll see the country change.

FOIA

Why isn't anyone concerned about the Freedom of the Information Act which was promised by the same Government back in 2014. The FOIA was on the agenda/manifesto but never put at work. It's already been 1980 days since we're waiting for that. Oh, it does not concern you or your work, that's why.

https://www.lexpress.mu/politique

Source: https://www.lexpress.mu/politique

There is a proverb which says:

It takes a strong fish to swim against the current. Only the dead ones go with the flow.

[1] Madhewoo (Appellant) v The State of Mauritius
and another (Respondents) (Mauritius)
https://www.jcpc.uk/cases/docs/jcpc-2016-0006-judgment.pdf

[2] https://www.lexpress.mu/article/275151/ish-sookun-je-mets-police-au-defi-publier-preuves

[3] https://www.lexpress.mu/article/275408/accuse-sous-pota-ish-sookun-confie-apres-sa-liberation

[4] https://business.mega.mu/2014/04/22/biometric-id-card-mr-bhadain-roshi-law-allows-police-access-database/

Are people abusing the ICT Act of Mauritius?

Disclaimer
People who are easily annoyed, distressed or may feel an « inconvenience » should not read this post. I will not be liable for any inconvenience caused to the reader.

Information and Communication Technologies Act 2001

Section 46(h)

Any person who —
uses, in any manner other than that specified in paragraph (ga), an information and communication service, including telecommunication service, —

(i) for the transmission or reception of a message which is grossly offensive, or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or

(ii) which is likely to cause or causes annoyance, humiliation, inconvenience, distress or anxiety to that person;

(iii) for the transmission of a message which is of a nature likely to endanger or compromise State defence, public safety or public order.


The ICT Act of Mauritius was amended in 2018 and it made a specific section of the legislation more ambiguous than before. Section 46 of the Act describes the offences under that legislation. The amendment introduced words such as humiliation, distress and anxiety to the list of "inconveniences" in part (ii).

The Electronic Frontier Foundation says that the amendments of the ICT Act are in line with the laws of countries such as Egypt, the UAE and Jordan — none of which are democracies.


On 15 April, while the whole country was under curfew, a team of policemen proceeded to arrest a young woman for breach of the ICT Act, after receiving a complaint by a government nominated board member of the ICT Authority.

The Centre for Law and Democracy expressed their concern regarding such an arrest for political satire.

The young woman spent a night in police custody for having posted an image showing a news broadcaster with a captioned photo of the Mauritian Prime Minister and text that joked about world leaders who are going to hold a press conference to ask the Mauritian Prime Minister about his miracle treatment & method for COVID-19.

As it appears the meme or joke caused such annoyance and inconvenience to the ICT Authority's board member that he decided to spend 2 hours at the CCID Cybercrime Unit to complain about it. L'express newspaper reported that the board member expressed on Facebook that he did so for his boss, his PM, and his country.

Now, one may wonder whether this board member of the ICT Authority really has acted out of love for his prime minister or is it a show of loyalty; often the case with persons holding a nominated position in government offices. Whichever reason the complainant may have, this particular incident points towards an abuse of the ICT Act, through the manner of the arrest and act of intimidation of behalf of people of authority.