Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson Dafeamekpor, has revealed that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the case against the Attorney General by a private legal practitioner, Justice Abdulai, to contest the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu’s decision to count himself during a vote to approve the 2022 budget, is an intrusion in the powers of parliament.
According to him, with due deference to the Supreme Court, he reckons its judgement to be “wrong”. Mr Dafeamekpor explained that the ruling is equally a “judicial coup against the legislature”.
“I think it also amounts to an intrusion in the powers of parliament. It’s a very sad interpretation that has come from the court yesterday. I have been very shy from commenting vehemently on the matter because I’m told that the reason will be given tomorrow. So, if we receive the full ruling, then we can deal with the grounds upon which the Supreme Court came to the interpretation that they came to”.Rockson Dafeamekpor
His comments followed the Supreme Court’s ruling that a Deputy Speaker of parliament presiding proceedings in the House has the right to vote on matters for determination. The ruling further noted that a deputy speaker will also be counted as part of the quorum for decision making.
On his part, Sylvester Matthew Tetteh, MP for Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro constituency, commenting on the unanimous 7-0 ruling, indicated that the minority NDC may have a case to contest against the ruling if some respected members of the “Supreme Court even disagrees” with the overall ruling on the case. However, he noted that there was no such “dissenting view” from any of the members on the panel which decided on the case.
“It will not amount to anything though, but we will have a dissenting basis. But you see, all the people, the worst of all are [the] people criticising it… Sadly, a respected minority leader and a lawyer for that matter did not read the [ruling] and to attempt to criticize it to the extent that he is impugning a judicial coup over parliament; I think that’s unfortunate. The worse of it all is the former flag bearer of the NDC. He is not a lawyer, I can pardon him; but I think that he is quite knowledgeable about the workings of parliamentary democracy [and an] extremely experienced person… to attack the integrity of the judiciary to that extent. That’s quite unfortunate”.
Unanimous decision of the Supreme Court
Meanwhile, former President John Mahama has revealed that the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling sets a dangerous precedent for the country’s Parliamentary procedure. Contained in a twitter post made today, March 10, 2022, Mr Mahama indicated that the 7-0 ruling affects the independence of the legislative arm of government and may affect future deliberations in the House.
“A unanimous 7-0? Shocking but not surprising. An unfortunate interpretation for convenience that sets a dangerous precedent of judicial interference in Parliamentary procedure for the future”.John Mahama
The landmark judgement was given after Justice Abdulai also requested the Supreme Court to interpret Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution and declare the action of Mr Osei-Owusu as unconstitutional. Following this, the Court struck down Order 109(3) of the Standing Orders of Parliament and described it as unconstitutional.