Supreme Court to deliver judgement in NDC, EC case on June 23
Supreme Court to deliver judgement in NDC, EC case on June 23The Supreme Court (SC) will on June 23, deliver judgement in the suit filed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) against the Electoral Commission (EC) over the non-use of the existing voters’ Identity Cards as part of the requirement for the upcoming Voters Registration Exercise slated for June 30.
The date was fixed after the Supreme Court had given 10 minutes each to counsel for parties in the matter to address the court orally.
Meanwhile the National Democratic Congress had abandoned one of its reliefs challenging the EC’s power to compile the voters register.
Mr. Godwin Tamakloe, represented the NDC, Mr. Justin Amenuvor represented the EC and Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame a deputy Attorney General represented the State.
Counsel were not spared from series of questions by the seven-member panel presided over by the Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah.
To this end, Mr. Tamakloe withdrew one of NDC’s reliefs which indicated that the Electoral Commission did not have the mandate to compile a new voters register.
The SC gave Mr. Tamakloe the option to choose the reliefs the party wanted to pursue.
According to Mr. Tamakloe he wanted to confer with the party, because he came to court on the collective decision of the party and he as an individual could not decide for the party.
He, therefore, abandon the relief which indicated that the EC did not have power to compile Voters Register.
He however maintained the relief on the exclusion of the voter’s ID card as proof of identity in the compilation of the upcoming Voter Registration exercise.
The apex court of the land therefore struck out that relief alleging that the EC did not have mandate to compile a new register.
Mr Tamakloe argued further that the arguments made by the EC did not produce any evidence to back its claims that persons who don’t deserve to have the current cards are on the register.
The Deputy Attorney-General said excluding old voters card will afford the commission an opportunity to “break from the past and remedy all the carried on ineligibilities”.
Mr Dame who represented the state recounted that all the cards under CI 72 carry the gills of CI 12.
The Court, last week, ordered the EC to provide it with further legal justification for declining to accept the existing Voters ID cards as part of identification for the upcoming registration exercise.
The EC, last Monday filed its legal justification for refusing to accept the existing voters’ identification card as part of identification for the upcoming registration exercise.
In a 31-page legal argument filed at the Supreme Court (SC), the EC said it had the sole constitutional responsibility to compile voters register and to determine how that compilation would be effected and it was not subject to the direction or control of any other body.
The Commission explained that three ID cards were obtained under three different constitutional instruments: CI 12, CI 72 and CI 91 and three ID cards should not be included in the upcoming registration.
In the supplementary statement of case, the EC said it had placed before Parliament a constitutional instrument that did not include the use of the existing or old voters ID cards, which at the time of filing this report is now law CI 126.
It said, “The second defendant (EC) through its own internal review and due diligence mechanism has realised that CI 12 did not require any proof of qualification to register as a voter.”
The EC explained that it means that anyone who registered under CI 12, cannot be said to have satisfied the constitutional test of providing qualification since no proof was required even though the criteria for qualification under Article 12 was set out therein,”.
It noted that “a review of CI 12 showed that what was provided in it was a “challenged mechanism to enable a person’s registration to be challenged, but again an applicant for registration did not have to prove first that he or she actually qualified”.
According to EC that clearly showed that the Voter ID card derived from the CI 12 registrations were legally and constitutionally doubtful and, therefore, same could not rely on as the basis for “meeting the constitutional qualification test”.
The EC said with respect to CI 72, the SC found in “Abu Ramadan No.1” that the use of the NHIS card to register was unconstitutional because it did not prove qualification.
The Commission said an anecdotal evidence provided by registration officials during the compilation of the Voter Register under CI 72, showed that a majority of applicants used the NHIS to register as it was the “most widely accessible card at the time”.
The EC indicated that led the SC to conclude as a matter of law that the 2012 Voters Register produced under CI 72 was neither reasonably credible nor accurate as constitutionally required.
The NDC filed at the Supreme Court a suit challenging the EC over the non-acceptance of existing Voters ID cards in the upcoming Voters Registration Exercise and joined the Attorney General to the suit.
Meanwhile there was heavy Police presence at the Supreme Court before the hearing of the matter commenced on Thursday morning.