Supreme Court's decision not to sit on weekends: Abu Ramadan files for review

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Chief Justice Georgina WoodThe National Youth Organiser of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Abu Ramadan, is urging the Supreme Court to review its decision allowing any party aggrieved with the judgement of a presidential petition to file for review.

He is also praying the court to review its decision not to sit on public holidays and weekends on a presidential petition.

The court had on April 30, 2013, ruled that the directive by Rule 69 C (5) of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (C.I. 74), which provides in part that "the court shall sit from day to day, including public holidays, when hearing a presidential election petition”, was unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.

In a unanimous decision, the court held that a review of its decisions was a right created by Article 133 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.

Article 133 (1) of the Constitution states: “The Supreme Court may review any decision made or given by it on such grounds and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by rules of court.”

The decision related to a suit filed at the court by the General Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Bernard Anbataayela Mornah, seeking “a declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of articles 133, 157, 93(2) and 11 of the 1992 Constitution, Rule 71B and a part of Rule 69C (5) of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (CI 74) were unconstitutional and must be declared null and void and of no effect”.

In an affidavit in support of his application for review, Mr Ramadan, who is also a leading member of the “Let My Vote Count Alliance,” a pressure group, said “although I was not an original party to the constitutional writ titled Suit No. J1/7/2013 between Bernard Anbataayela  Mornah and the Attorney-General, a decision of which was handed down by this Honourable Court, on 30th April 2013. I am pioneering this review application in defence of the Constitution.”

He argued that the decision under reference was not private in nature, as it was public in character having far-reaching consequences for Ghana’s constitutionally-sanctioned democracy and the rule of law.

According to the applicant, the decision undermined the1992 Constitution itself, the powers of the Judiciary had been unfortunately subordinated to the Executive, the existing body of law and, procedure was thrown into confusion, among others, which presented exceptional circumstances which, respectfully, were compelling enough to persuade the Supreme Court to review the decision of the court dated 30th April 2013.

“Furthermore, I am advised by counsel that the purpose of a presidential election petition was not a consideration at all in the exercise of the court of its interpretative function of the constitution.

Hearing of the review application has been fixed for June 14, 2013.

Story: Mabel Aku Baneseh

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