The opposition National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) national communications officer has called the Supreme Court’s registrar’s decision to wait for the Chief Justice to set or certify a date for the hearing of the party’s injunction lawsuit against the Electoral Commission unacceptable.
Sammy Gyamfi remarked on PM Express on JoyNews that it has always been customary for the registrar to consult the court’s schedule and provide petitioners with a date for the hearing.
He explained to the host Blessed Sogah that the court often allots a fair amount of time in the case of an injunction in order to prevent the application from becoming moot.
“We filed this action in the Supreme Court on Thursday, I mean the main writ, and consequently filed the application for injunction. We were not given any return date for the injunction application. We were told that the Chief Justice was out of town and she has to certify or approve the date.”
“That is totally unheard of, it is totally unacceptable, and it must be stopped. It does not and cannot happen in any serious civilized country built and run on systems. The practice in the past that we all know of as lawyers is that when processes are filed like that, the registrar of the court checks his calendar and gives you a return date.”
Mr. Gyamfi questioned the choice, stating that it is unheard of for the head of the judiciary to serve as the registrar in any nation.
He said that it is improper for the Supreme Court’s operation to be suspended because the Chief Justice is out of town.
“Assuming without admitting that even the system was right, the point is every leader must learn to delegate power. Assuming without admitting that what they registered to it is true, indeed the Chief Justice is the one vested with the authority to give us a return date.”
“At least, in the absence of the Chief Justice, the reasonable expectation is that she should be able to delegate one of the justices of the Supreme Court, the practice has always been to delegate the senior most act in her stead. If she is not comfortable with the delegation of the senior most, she can delegate anybody to perform that.”
On September 7, the EC was sued by the NDC and four other political parties for insisting on holding the restricted voter registration process for 2023 at its district offices.
The Convention People’s Party (CPP), All People’s Congress (APC), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), and Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) are all parties to the lawsuit, which claims that the ruling would disenfranchise a significant number of eligible voters.
Thus, the political parties are requesting that the Supreme Court halt the election administration body’s plans until the substantive issue has been decided in full.
However, former president John Mahama said in a Facebook post that nothing had happened despite the writ and the injunction suit being properly filed at the Supreme Court Registry on Thursday, September 7, 2023, at 2:50 p.m.
He argued that the petitioners were notified, at the time the injunction was filed, that the registry was awaiting a date from the Chief Justice, who was out of the country at the time.
Despite the Chief Justice’s return to the city, he said that there has been no news concerning the issue with the EC set to commence the registration exercise tomorrow – Tuesday.
“This is unprecedented and does not augur well for public confidence in the justice delivery system.”