The Electoral Commission, Ghana (EC) has resisted attempts by four policy think-tanks to volunteer relevant information to the Supreme Court in the case between the Commission and National Democratic Congress (NDC) regarding the new voters register.The policy think-tanks – IMANI Africa, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation and Conservative Policy Research Center – had served notice to volunteer relevant information to the court in what is often referred to as amicus brief in law.
The NDC sued the EC and the Attorney General (AG), challenging the decision to limit eligibility criteria for the compilation of the proposed voters’ register to only a National ID Card and a Ghanaian passport.
The Court had set Tuesday, June 23 for judgement, but another suit directed at the EC on the same matter caused the court to adjourn judgement indefinitely.
According to the CSOs, an amicus brief had become necessary because there was the need to provide the Supreme Court with supplementary evidence and information they had uncovered which they believe could help the judges avoid a travesty of justice in the case.
But in rejecting the move, the EC argued the CSOs did not show any special expertise relating to the matters of the case for which reason they would want to volunteer any information to the court – or file an amicus brief.
The EC also argued that the public utterances of the CSOs on the matter is a clear indication that “they are not disinterested in the outcome of the case”, and can thus not file an amicus brief.
It is the understanding of the EC that the main purpose of an amicus brief is “to seek leave of the court to point to the court some decision, whether reported or unreported or some point of law which appeared not to have been canvassed by the litigating parties or to bring for the benefit of the court some special expertise relating to the matter before it”.
The EC contends the CSOs do not meet any of the grounds under which they can file an amicus brief, as such, prayed the Supreme Court to dismiss their application.