Human rights defenders have sought a court order stopping Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has said it will shut down filling stations which do not comply with regulations for operating such business that are under contention.
The petitioners to court sought fo judicial review regulations which were approved by Parliament in 2004 and became effective in September 2017.
The Liquid Fuels and Gases law of 2004 states that no person or business entity shall carry out modification or any activity of a filling station without notifying the authority and obtaining a licence for such activity.
Of late, there has been a mushrooming of filling stations with some constructed at high-risk places such as near hospitals, schools and markets which is against the law.
Currently, there are 225 registered filling stations in the country with several others operating illegally, especially in the rural areas.
Mera executive director Collins Magalasi said the regulator is carrying out inspections across the country to assess the operational safety of service stations and would shut down those falling short on standards.
But High Court granted lawyer Wapona Kita the permission to move the judicial review .
The court has further ordered MERA to immediately suspend implementation of Liquid fuels and gas supply amendment regulations 2017 and that implantation of standards and requirements for construction and decommissioning of retail outlets dated 5 october, 2017be suspended until the final determination of the matter.
Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) board chair Robert Mkwezalamba who have been challenging the amendments and guidelines said he was pleased with the order.
The guidelines, among others, stipulate that a service station should be located within a one-kilometre radius of an operational service station in urban settings or residential areas and that a proposed site be located within 100-metres radius of any public institution which are normally overcrowded.