A former Attorney General, Nii Ayikoi Otoo has intimated that the Supreme Court has the final authority to pronounce rulings in the country. As such, he indicated that the ruling that a Deputy Speaker can vote, does not violate any parliamentary rule.
Mr. Ayikoi Otoo indicated that he does not think that the ruling is a violation of parliamentary practice because the Standing Orders of Parliament do not supersede the 1992 constitution which is the supreme law of the land.
“Whatever anybody has now, it is a bit too late. The other thing that you can do is to go for a review. There is no other law in the country which is superior than the constitution. So, whether Members of Parliament are masters of their own rules, all their rules should not be above the constitution.”Nii Ayikoi Otoo
Regarding whether or not the Plaintiff [Justice Abdulai] can file for a review of the ruling, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo explained that when it is so unanimous and there is no fundamental error that has been committed by the court, it will be very difficult to go for a review.
“You look at whether the decision was split or unanimous; how many judges sat on it? Are you sure that you can get them to change their minds to the extent that you are going to get 5-2 or 4-3? I doubt.”Nii Ayikoi Otoo
Mr. Ayikoi Otoo’s comments followed the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu’s assertion that the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Deputy Speaker of Parliament can vote when presiding, is a travesty of justice on Parliamentary practice.
S.C ruling politically motivated
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for Sagnarigu, Alhassan Bashir Fuseini, described as politically motivated, the Supreme Court’s ruling that a Deputy Speaker can vote while presiding over proceedings of the House.
The MP accused the Supreme Court of reducing itself to “political appendages” by the verdict on Wednesday. “We say from the onset that this is a shameful day for our democracy. That is a very farcical, shameful, politically motivated ruling by the Judiciary, the Apex Court of the land.“
Mr. Fuseini mentioned that the Supreme Court being referred to as the Highest Judicial body of the land is “just theory”. He explained that in practice, the court’s practice and its conduct doesn’t show so and it’s indicated clearly by the ruling that they consistently churn out.
Mr. Fuseini noted that Article 102 clearly indicates that even apart from the person presiding, the quorum is constituted by one-third of members on the floor and as such the Deputy Speaker’s vote must not be counted.
The Sagnarigu MP intimated that although the Supreme Court has been mandated as the organ of government, with the power to interpret the law, it does not mean the Supreme Court should “misinterpret the constitution or twist the law to suit its own political interests”.
Mr. Fuseini stated that the ruling by the Apex Court is not in the interest of Ghana’s democracy and must therefore be challenged.