Minority disappointed with Supreme Court's ruling on Deputy Speaker's voting

1.21430212 Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South

Thu, 10 Mar 2022 Source: GNA

The Minority in Parliament Wednesday described as disappointing the Supreme Court's ruling that a deputy speaker can be counted to form a quorum for parliamentary decision and also vote.

It said the Court’s decision amounted to judicial interference in time tested parliamentary practice and established conventions.

The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, at a press conference in Parliament in reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling, described the decision as a travesty of parliamentary justice and a stab in the growth and development of multi-party democracy built on the principles of checks and balances.

A five-member panel of the Supreme Court, presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, Wednesday affirmed as constitutional the action by Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker, to support the approval of the 2022 Budget without the NDC MPs’ participation.

Mr Iddrisu said it was not for nothing that Article 102 of the Constitution provided that a person presiding shall not have original vote nor casting vote, adding that the Court’s decision was repugnant to the provisions in Article 102 and 104.

“The Court’s ruling aptly captures the judicial support for the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy), for a struggling economy in destress,” he said.

“The Judiciary of Ghana is also failing Ghana’s parliamentary democracy in their inability to appreciate the true meaning of Article 110 of the 1992 Constitution that Parliament shall, by Standing Orders, regulate its own proceedings.”

Mr Iddrisu expressed concern over the Court’s only reference to the constitutional provision leaving out the room created by Standing Order 13 in concluding the case.

“Can you imagine what will happen in Parliament…where he [First Deputy Speaker] is presiding, and the Second Deputy Speaker for some purposes is not immediately available in the Chamber, he will walk down, vote, and at that time there will not be persons presiding over the Parliament of Ghana.”

It would be recalled that a Private Legal Practitioner, Mr Justice Abdulai, filed a case against at the Attorney General at the Supreme Court that the approval of the 2022 Budget without the National Democratic Congress MPs’ participation was illegal.

He asked the Court to interpret Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution and to declare the whole proceedings in Parliament on November 30, 2021, which led to the passage of the 2022 Budget and Economic Policy as unconstitutional.

He insisted the Deputy Speaker should not have counted himself as an MP when he was presiding over proceedings.

However, in defence of the State, the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, argued that there was no express provision in the 1992 Constitution that stops a Deputy Speaker presiding over proceedings from voting or counting himself as part of MPs present to form the right quorum.

Source: GNA
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