Parties in anti-gay bill given 4 weeks to file submission

Parties in a case in which a farmer is seeking to stop Parliament from proceeding with the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021 Bill, popularly known as the anti-gay bill, have been given four weeks to file their written submissions. 

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It is the case of Paul Boama-Sefa that the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, failed to insist on the estimated effect the bill would have on revenues and expenditures for the financial year in which the bill was proposed.

Joined to the suit is the Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, as a defendant. The suit challenging the bill, which was passed by Parliament on February 28 this year, was filed in May 2023.

When the case was called on Monday, counsel for the applicant, Benedict Nii-Kraku, and state lawyers informed the court presided over by Ellen L.S Mireku that he needed at least four weeks to file the submission.

The court gave all parties, the plaintiff, the Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney-General four weeks to file the submissions. The case has been adjoined to July 29, this year.

Reliefs

The plaintiff said the non-compliance with the statutory requirements relating to the laying of the Bill and the complete disregard of the Attorney-General's advice indicated an intention by the Speaker not to comply with the express provisions of Act 921 and by extension the laws of Ghana.

Article 100 of the 1992 Constitution gives authority and empowers the Speaker, as the person presiding over Parliament, to manage and direct the affairs of Parliament. The plaintiff said the provisions of Article 100 of the 1992 Constitution place a responsibility on the Speaker to ensure compliance with procedures prescribed by statute in parliamentary proceedings when he was presiding.

Mr Boama-Sefa averred that the Speaker had intentionally failed and/or neglected to perform his lawful duty to enforce or ensure compliance with section 100(1) of Act 921. He also averred that the Speaker had exhibited, by his public utterances and conduct on numerous occasions, his determination to allow the Bill to go through the legislative process despite being fully aware of the statutory conditions precedent for laying the Bill.

He said allowing the Bill to proceed without ensuring compliance with the statutory conditions precedent would set a bad precedent for law-making processes in Parliament and erode the rule of law.

Mr Boama-Sefa averred that the Bill is non-compliant with the clear statute provisions of Act 921, and also infringed the legal processes for presenting a Private Member's Bill. The plaintiff indicated that the Speaker would not perform his lawful duty to ensure compliance with the statutory requirements for the laying and consideration of the Bill unless compelled by the Court.

He averred that all the processes leading to the consideration of the Bill by Parliament were rendered nugatory because of it being tainted with illegalities. The plaintiff wants a declaration that the Speaker had a non-discretionary obligation to ensure that all statutory requirements relating to the presentation and/or consideration of the Promotion of the Bill placed before Parliament, including the requirement for the Bill to be accompanied by a fiscal impact analysis when it was first laid before Parliament, were complied with.

The plaintiff also wants a declaration that the failure of the Speaker to perform this non-discretionary obligation and the failure of the Attorney-General to insist and ensure that the requirement that the Bill be accompanied by a fiscal impact analysis when it was first laid before Parliament was complied with, had rendered all processes in respect of the Bill to date invalid and void, by reason of illegality.

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