The National Communications Officer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has described as unacceptable the decision of the registrar at the Supreme Court to wait for the Chief Justice to provide or certify a date for the hearing of the party’s injunction suit against the Electoral Commission.
Speaking on PM Express on JoyNews, Sammy Gyamfi said the practice has always been to have the registrar check the court’s calendar and give applicants a date for the hearing.
In the case of an injunction, he told the host Blessed Sogah, that the court usually gives a reasonable time to ensure that the application is not rendered 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 decision adding that it is unheard of that the head of the judiciary in any country also functions as the registrar.
He stated that it is not right for the administration of justice in the Supreme Court to come to a standstill 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 Thursday, September 7, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and four other political parties sued the EC over its insistence on conducting the 2023 limited voter registration exercise at its district offices.
The suit, which is joined by the Convention People’s Party (CPP), All People’s Congress (APC), Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) and the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), alleges that the decision will disenfranchise many eligible voters.
The political parties are thus asking the Supreme Court to prevent the electoral management body from proceeding with the exercise pending the final determination of the substantive matter.
But in a Facebook post, former President John Mahama said, although the writ and the injunction application were duly filed at the Registry of the Supreme Court on Thursday, 7th September 2023, at 2:50 p.m., nothing has come out of it.
He contended that at the time of the filing of the injunction, the applicants were informed that the registry was waiting for a date to be given by the Chief Justice, who was outside the jurisdiction at the time.
He stated that although the Chief Justice is back in town, nothing has been reported about 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.”