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Supreme Court fixes September 19 ruling over 45 new constituencies

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The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday fixed September 19 to deliver its ruling on a matter brought against the Electoral Commission (EC) in respect of the creation of the 45 new constituencies.

This was after the court presided over by Mr Justice Julius Ansah, a Supreme Court Judge, had listened to arguments from all the parties.

Mr Ranford Frances a businessman had dragged the EC to court over the creation of 45 new constituencies. Also joined in the suit was the Attorney General.

The plaintiff, Mr France had gone to the SC to restrain the EC from carrying out its intention of creating new districts until the hearing and final determination of the matter. Hearing of the substantive matter had been fixed for October 4.

The businessman was challenging the power of the E. C. to go ahead with the creation of new constituencies without first laying it before Parliament, a constitutional instrument indicating clearly the mechanism, formula or modalities by which it intended to undertake that exercise.

Arguing on the interlocutory injunction, Mr Joe Ghartey former Attorney-General, one of the lawyers for Mr Frances said they were in court to seek a constitutional relief, adding that, before an application receives the necessary attention, it ought to meet certain requirements.

These requirements, he said were that whether there were issues to be tried and whether the defendant was going to suffer an irreparable damage.

He noted that there are issues to be tried in the substantive matter and that the EC was not going to suffer from any irreparable damage.

According to him, the assertion that halting a Constitutional Instrument would derail the election process was incorrect and the court had the power to halt any illegality.

He opined that the court ought not to wait until an illegality had been committed before remedying it.

He argued that the decision to create the new constituencies were in contravention of constitutional provisions, hence the need to grant the injunction.

Mr James Quarshie-Idun, who represented the EC, noted that granting an injunction would only amount to “removing the EC from a moving train.”

Mr Quarshie-Idun argued that the plaintiffs could wait and apply for judicial review or come under Article 48 of the Constitution which spelt out the remedy.

Mr Benjamin Kumbuor, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General associated himself with submissions put in by the EC adding that the court could restrain Parliament if it was engaged in an unconstitutional matter.

According Mr Kumbuor Parliament had not engaged in any clear illegality action.

He said CI 78 was to address issues of Public law and interest which was also time bound.

According to him if the EC does not exercise its constitutional power by January 8, 2013 it was bound to face some consequences.

On July 16 this year, the plaintiff proceeded to the SC praying it to declare that upon a true and proper interpretation of Articles 23, 51 and 296 (c), the EC, in the exercise of its functions and discretionary power in creating new constituencies, was required to make by Constitutional Instrument, regulations not inconsistent with the Constitution or any other law to govern the exercise of its discretionary power.

The plaintiff further wanted the SC to perpetually restrain the EC from laying before Parliament any Constitutional Instrument creating new constituencies and or revoking the Representation of the People (Parliamentary Constituencies) Instrument, 2004 [C.I. 46], until it lays before Parliament a Constitutional Instrument which clearly sets out the processes to be adopted by the EC.

Source: GNA

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