High Court erred in Zanetor case – Supreme Court rules

Law2The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that an Accra High Court erred in law when it went ahead to interpret Article 94 (1) (a) in the case involving Dr Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings and Nii Armah Ashietey the incumbent Member of Parliament for Klottey Korle Constituency.

The Supreme Court therefore ruled that the High Court should stay proceedings before it, but granted the order of certiorari quashing the decision of the High Court which sought to interpret Article 94 (1) (a) of the 1992 Constitution.

The Supreme Court in a 4/1 decision ruling also gave the parties: Dr Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Nominee for Kolttey Korley Constituency; Nii Ashietey NDC incumbent MP and the NDC two-weeks to file their submission for hearing to commence on the interpretation on June 2.

The majority decision was by Justice William Attuguba, Justice Ampa Benin; Justice Yaw Appau and Justice Gabriel Pwamang with Justice Anin Yeboah holding a dissenting opinion.

Justice Yeboah in his minority opinion said there was no ambiguity in the provision of Article 94 (1) (a) stressing that the Article was clear that a distinction should be drawn in Constitutional interpretation as well as Constitutional Provisions.

He said every court is duty bound to adhere to the Constitution if the language and wording is clear, so the applicant has not satisfied the Supreme Court that the High Court has breached the Constitution.

Dr Zanetor had filed a case at the Supreme Court seeking for an order of prohibition directed at the trial judge, Mr Justice Kwaku T. Ackah Boafo of an Accra High Court from further hearing the matter.

According to Dr Zenator’s lawyer, Mr Godwin Tamakloe posted that the trial judge erred in law when he wrongfully assumed the jurisdictional role to interpret Article 94 (1) (a) of the 1992 Constitution.

Counsel contended that the function of the interpretation of the Constitution was done by the Supreme Court and not the High Court in the matter at stake.

The trial judge had ruled that since Dr Zenator has put herself up she was entangled in the web of Article 94 (1) (a) which stipulates that she should be a registered voter before participating in last November parliamentary primaries.

Counsel was of the view that the said ruling be brought before the SC for same to be quashed.

Mr Tamakloe argued that political parties had ways of declaring people as candidates adding these were done by popular acclamation or open contest.

Nii Armah Ashietey the incumbent Member of Parliament who lost to Dr Rawlings last year had gone to court challenging his defeat in the November 11, 2015, primaries citing some constitutional breaches.

According to Mr Ashietey, Dr. Zanetor Rawlings did not qualify to be elected as the parliamentary nominee since at the time of the contest she was not a registered voter in the country.

This he said was a serious constitutional breach.

Mr Gary Nimako Marfo at the SC today relied on his filed submissions and the various exhibits as well as the supporting affidavits.

Mr Marfo argued that as at the time contesting the primaries Dr Zanetor Rawlings was not a registered voter and that she only displayed her Voter Identity card after registering in the ongoing limited registration exercise being conducted by the Electoral Commission.

He contended that an order for certiorari would not lie since the trial judge did not falter in law.

Counsel posits that Dr Zanetor did not meet the legal requirement of primaries as such the order of certiorari be dismissed as it lack merits.

Source: GNA

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