Supreme Court rejects suit on special voting

Justice William Atuguba

Justice William Atuguba

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an application filed by Dr. Amoako Tuffour and two others for the special voting on December 1, to be counted by the Electoral Commission (EC).

In a unanimous decision by the seven-member panel presided by Justice William Atuguba, the court said the action of the plaintiff to seek an order to compel the EC to count and declare the results of special voting was premature and unconstitutional.

The court said it had no jurisdiction to grant a relief contrary to the constitution, and that the fear of the plaintiff that the result may be be tampered with was unfounded.

According to the court, the decision of the EC not to count and declare the results of the special voting was consistent with the 1992 Constitution of the country.

The court said the Commission’s action that the ballot boxes would be removed, added to the main polls and counted afterwards resonated well with the constitution both in letter and spirit.

The court said an interlocutory declaration of results of notable institutions will affect the secrecy of ballot, and prejudice fairness of the electoral process, adding that the action might jeopardise the integrity of the election and influence the main polls, because it would be discussed on various platforms.

Justice Atuguba who read the judgement on behalf of the panel, said though judgement did not go in favour of them the plantiffs, it was a landmark case which must be commended.

The court also admonished the media to report accurately on court issues because they stand between the judiciary and the public.

One of the plaintiffs, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Amoako Tuffour, told The Ghanaian Times after proceedings that though they disagree with the decision of the court, they will accept it.

The panel presided by Justice William Atuguba was made up of Justice Jones Dotse, Justice Anin Yeboah, Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Justice Anthony Benin, Justice Yaw Apau and Justice Gabriel Pwamang.

Dr Tuffuor, a retired lecturer; Benjamin Arthur, an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practitioner, and Adreba Abrefa Damoa, a pensioner, contended that Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 94, which states that special voting ballot boxes will be sealed to be opened on close of poll on election day for counting was unconstitutional.

They accordingly invoked the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to declare that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 49 of the 1992 Constitution, ‘special voting’ as provided for by Regulation 23 of the Public Elections Regulations, 2016; CI.94 is a part of public elections.

The plaintiffs were seeking a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992, and Section 13 of the Representation of the People Law, 1992; PNDCL 284; the ballots to be cast pursuant to Regulation 23 (1), (2), (3)(,(4),(5),(6),(7),(8),(9) and (10) of the Public

They wanted an order directed at the EC to comply with the provisions of Article 49 (2), (3) (a) and (b) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 13 of the Representation of the People Law, 1992; PNDCL 284 in respect of special voting for the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections and any subsequent public election in the Republic of Ghana.

 

By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme

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