The Supreme Court has dismissed the joinder application filed by the People’s National Convention (PNC) in the suit in which Abu Ramadan, a former National Youth Organiser of the party, has sued the Electoral Commission (EC) demanding a new electoral roll ahead of the November elections.
According to the seven-member panel of justices presided over by Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, the application to join the PNC as a third plaintiff has no merit.
The court has however, deferred the reasons for the dismissal of the application until the final determination of the case.
Meanwhile, the court has fixed May 5, 2016 to deliver its judgement in the case brought by the two plaintiffs – Abu and Evans Nimako.
This was after the parties had said that they would both rely on their statements to battle the case.
Justice Jones Dotse wondered whether or not the Electoral Commission (EC) has a database of voters registered in the 2012/2014 limited registration exercise with National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards, passport or licence.
In an answer, Thaddeus Sory, EC lawyer, said there is a data base but it does not reflect the type of identification used for the registration.
He however, said that if one wants to know the type of identification used for registration, that has to be done manually.
Dr. Raymond Atuguba, lawyer for Bernard Mornah-led PNC, had requested the court to remove the names of the plaintiffs and substitute same with that of the political party as per Article 55.
He explained that under the Article, political parties have the mandate to represent people, adding that the applicant is a registered political party.
Although Sory and the Attorney General did not oppose the application, he insisted that granting the application would amount to absurdity, stressing that the reason for granting joinder application is to avoid multiplicity of writs.
Nana Asante Bediatuo, presenting the plaintiffs, disagreed.
He argued that the application was a move just to disrupt the proceedings in the court.
According to the motion on notice for joinder dated April 13, 2016 filed by Atuguba and Associates, the PNC was requesting the court to be joined as a “third plaintiff” to the suit.
It said that PNC is a registered political party with a direct interest in the case since the outcome of the case would affect the conduct of elections in the country and in particular, the conduct of the next presidential and parliamentary elections due to be held in a few months.
It said among others that the PNC sought to contest in the up-coming general elections and the outcome of the case has a direct consequence on the polls.
The affidavit further stated that the test for determining whether or not to join a party to a suit of this kind is whether or not the person seeking to be joined is “directly affected” by the suit.
In the writ filed by their lawyers – Ampem Chambers – the two plaintiffs are praying the court to declare “the 2012 voter register which contains the names of persons who have not established qualification to be registered as inconsistent with Article 42 and 45(a) and therefore unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.”
The plaintiffs, among other things, want a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 45(a) of the 1992 Constitution, the mandate of the EC to compile the register of voters implies a duty to compile a fair and transparent register.
Source: Daily Guide
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