SC to rule on the legality of C.I 78 on Oct 19
By Ivy Benson
The Supreme Court (SC) has fixed October 19, this year, to pronounce judgment on a challenge a businessman, Ransford France, threw against the processes the Electoral Commission (EC) followed in laying C.I. 78 that created new Constituencies, before Parliament.
The court, presided over by Justice William Attuguba, settled on the date yesterday, after hearing extensive arguments from counsel of the plaintiff, Ransford France, the EC and the Attorney General on the issue.
The rest of the panel members are Justices Date-Baah, Sophia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Annin-Yeboah, Sule Gbadegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
Mr. Godfred Yeboah-Dame, counsel for the plaintiff, is seeking to challenge the legality of C.I. 78, since it is inconsistent with the Constitution.
According to plaintiff, the modalities followed by the EC in laying the Constitutional Instrument flout the tenets of the 1992 Constitution and, therefore, renders it invalid and illegal.
In his arguments, Mr. Yeboah-Dame noted that the discretionary powers and guidelines given the EC were not exhausted in the creation of the new 45 Constituencies since it did not publish the C.I. before laying it before Parliament.
This action, counsel pointed out, violates the Constitution, adding that the EC failed to provide reasons as to why it decided to alter the boundaries of the Constituencies.
Meanwhile, the plaintiff in his affidavit, is seeking a declaration of the court that by Articles 23, 51 and 296 (c), the EC in exercising its functions and discretionary power in creating new constituencies, is required to make by Constitutional Instrument, regulations that are not inconsistent with the Constitution or any other law.
Additionally, plaintiff is asking the court to declare that by Articles 51 and 296 (c) of the 1992 Constitution, the EC is required to indicate specifications of the formula and mechanisms used in the creation of the new constituencies make by Constitutional Instrument.
Plaintiff is, therefore, asking the court to declare the EC’s failure to indicate mechanisms and modalities by which it used in creating the new Constituencies as a breach of Ghanaian voters’ fundamental human right to vote.
In his response, counsel for the EC, Mr. James Quarshie-Idun noted that the action of the EC was not an exercise of discretionary powers, emphasizing that the rules are clearly set out at Article 47 of the Constitution for his client to follow.
According to him, Article 47 of the Constitution provides the guidelines and modalities the EC must follow in creating new constituencies, adding that C.I. 78 was an exercise of demarcation, which has a remedy in Article 48 of the Constitution to enable aggrieved persons to seek redress.
The representative of the Attorney General, Mr. Cecil Adadevor, a Principal State Attorney, in his response, pointed out that the C.I. 78 was laid in accordance with the Constitution, adding that the EC followed the specific guidelines it provided in creating the new constituencies.
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