The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has taken exception to a ruling by the Supreme Court which struck out a law that sought to legalise cannabis cultivation in Ghana without consulting the House on the matter.
The Court, in the case of Mana vs Attorney-General and the Speaker of Parliament, struck out Section 43 of the Narcotic Control Commission Act 2020 (Act 1019) declaring it unconstitutional.
The Court, in a 4-3 majority decision on July 28, 2022, held that Section 43 of Act 1019 violated Article 106 of the 1992 constitution, which details the processes a bill should go through before it was passed into law.
It said that Parliament was not engaged in the passage, as there was no thorough discussion on it in Parliament before its passage into law, as stipulated by Articles 106 (5) (6) of the 1992 Constitution.
That ruling, the Speaker said, delivered without the apex court “hearing from us” as an interested party.
He said as a party to the case, it was only proper for the legislature to be heard before judgement is given.
“If the Speaker is a party to a suit, at least the Speaker should be served but there was no service to us,” he said on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday.
“There was no service to us and maybe the Attorney-General assumed that responsibility without consulting us, and the Supreme Court proceeded to give some judgement. I think something is amiss and we have to rectify it,” the Speaker stated.
Noting that not in all cases that the Attorney-General was sufficiently empowered to represent Parliament in court, the Speaker said Parliament has contracted two law firms to assist it in its legal matters.
He has, thus, directed the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, to communicate the decision to the Attorney-General.
“If there is any need for further discussion, we are available to do so but we must do something to close this gap of miscommunication and get inputs from Parliament.
“When there are matters before the court having some impact or effect on what we do here, we should be heard,” the Speaker added.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI