Alexander Afenyo-Markin — Majority Leader, addressing the media
Alexander Afenyo-Markin — Majority Leader, addressing the media
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Chief Justice did nothing illegal, immoral — Majority Caucus

The Majority Caucus in Parliament has stated that the Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo, committed no illegality when she wrote a letter to the President requesting more Justices at the Supreme Court to handle the numerous cases pending before it.

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“The Chief Justice has not done anything illegal, immoral nor unconstitutional in respect of her recommendation for the need to increase the number of justices at the Supreme Court,” it said.

The Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, stated this when he addressed the press in Parliament last Monday.

Context

In a letter to the President, the Chief Justice proposed the appointment of Justices Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, Cyra Pamela Koranteng, Eric Kyei Baffour, Justice Edward Amoako Asante and Angelina Mensah Homiah, all justices of the Appeal Court, onto the Supreme Court.

That, she believed, would enable the court to handle the numerous cases pending before it.

Constitutional mandate

The Majority Leader said the Chief Justice mooted the proposal to expand the Supreme Court to 20 judges for efficiency and effectiveness of justice delivery. He explained that per Article 125 (4) of the Constitution, there were some inherent powers provided for in such provisions that allowed the CJ as the Chief Executive and head of the Judiciary to make such proposals.

“The Chief Justice shall subject to this constitution, be head of the judiciary, and shall be responsible for the administration and supervision of the judiciary,” he quoted article 125 (5) in support of his position.

Touching on what the law says on the composition of the Supreme Court, Mr Afenyo-Markin quoted Article 128 (1) of the Constitution which provides that "The Supreme Court shall consist of the Chief Justice and not less than nine other Justices of the Supreme Court."

He argued that the framers of the Constitution, in their wisdom, gave a minimum sealing in anticipation that there could be the possibility in the future to increase the number of Justices at the apex court.

Timing

On the timing of the appointment, Mr Afenyo-Markin said an institution such as the Judiciary, with its constitutional mandate to deliver justice, was not bound by the election timetable of the country.

“The impression these critics try to create is that all that the Supreme Court does is to determine political cases but I can tell you on authority that the political cases that go to the SC may not even be up to two per cent of the cases that they deal with.

“As astute politician as the President is known to be, I do not think that he will want to trigger a debate in the public domain to poison the atmosphere. He will not do that,” he said of the President.

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