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UPDATED: Supreme Court Throws Out Injunction On CI 78   
 
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19-Sep-2012  
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday, dismissed a motion against an injunction seeking to restrain Parliament from considering the controversial CI 78 to legalize 45 new constituencies.

A businessman, Mr Ransford France, had entreated the Supreme Court to restrain Parliament from considering CI 78 which has been laid and is expected to mature on October 3, 2012 until the final determination of a suit he has filed against the creation of the new constituencies.

The applicant went to court on July 6, 2012, praying it to declare as unconstitutional and illegal the creation of 45 new constituencies by the Electoral Commission (EC).

Also sued alongside the EC was the Attorney-General.

The Supreme Court thus set aside today to rule on whether or not Parliament should be stopped from considering the Representation of the People (parliamentary Constituencies Instrument), 2012 CI 78.

But in an interesting twist, PeaceFM's Bernard Quanson who is in the courtroom reports that a legal practitioner, Chris Ackumey, on Wednesday morning, filed a motion seeking an order to permit him to join the matter to protect his interest.

According to his lawyer, David Annan, his client has a vested interest in the case since he intends to contest as a Member of Parliament in one of the yet-to-be created constituencies; Ablekuma West.

But Lawyer Atta Akyea, in response to the application, stated that the A-G was already in the suit protecting the public interest and there was no need for the action, adding that granting Mr Ackumey's application will encourage other people to join in the suit, thus over-burdening the court.

The court, after hearing both aruments, fixed September 25th to rule on whether to permit Mr Ackumey to be joined in the substantive matter or not.

After this decision, the Supreme Court then proceeded to rule on the case filed by Mr Ransford Francee entreating it to restrain Parliament from considering CI 78.

Justice Julius Ansah again in his ruling stated that the right thing to be done was for the case to be dismissed. According to him, placing an injunction on the CI 78, which is currently before Parliament, will not inure to the benefit of Ghanaians since it could affect the election timetable.

Citing a precedent - Tuffuor Vrs Attorney General - in which it was ruled that the court cannot interfere on issues that are before Parliament, the presiding judge said the court can only do so, if it is the case that Parliament was interfering in constitutional matters.

"I don't think Parliament by sitting on the controversial CI 78 is interfering with the constitution," he said.

Justice Ansah further pointed out that if the plaintiff had shown beyond doubt that he will suffer serious implication if the injunction was not granted, he could have granted the application.

However, he said, it was rather obvious that the respondents - EC and the Attorney General - were the ones who will suffer serious implications with regards to a successful organisation of the election if the injunction is granted; a claim put forward by the Attorney-General.

Earlier, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor had argued that there was no clear indication that Parliament had committed an illegality, adding that the laying of CI 78 was of public interest and was also time bound because there would be serious constitutional crisis if the time was not met.

According to Dr Kunbuor, it was not clear how much the applicant would be inconvenienced, as against the national inconvenience that would be occasioned when Parliament was restrained.

"If, by January 8, 2013, the EC does not exercise its constitutional power, we are likely to have no government in Parliament," he maintained.

The Supreme Court thus upheld the EC and A-G's argument and threw out the application for injunction.

The dismissal of the application today means the substantive case could be heard on October 4, when Parliament had already passed the CI.

But the plaintiff and his legal team are unimpressed with the ruling.

Atta Akyea, a member of the legal team says he is surprised by the courts decision, stressing that Parliament cannot be allowed to subvert the constitution before the court takes action.

You dont wait for a car to crash before you take it to the workshop, he stated.

In the substantive suit, the applicant is challenging the power of the EC to go ahead with the creation of new constituencies without first laying before Parliament a constitutional instrument indicating clearly the mechanism, formula or modalities by which it intended to undertake that exercise.

He is praying the court to perpetually restrain the EC from laying before Parliament any CI creating new constituencies and or revoking the Representation of the People (Parliamentary Constituencies Instrument), 2004 [CI 46] until it laid before Parliament a CI which clearly sets out the processes to be adopted by the EC.
 
 
Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana
 
 

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