Dep Speaker voting rights: SC ruling ‘judicial interference’, ‘support for e-levy’ – Iddrisu

    The Supreme Court ruling that Deputy Speakers of Parliament have the right to vote in decision-making while presiding over proceedings of the House is a “judicial support for e-levy,” Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has said.

    According to Mr Iddrisu, the Supreme Court’s decision is also a travesty of parliamentarynnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn k justice.

    In a unanimous decision, the apex court, presided over by a seven-member panel led by Justice Jones Dotse held that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 103 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution, a Deputy Speaker, who is a Member of Parliament, does not lose his right to take part in decision-making in parliament.

    The decision comes after a lawyer, who is also a law lecturer, Justice Abdulai, petitioned the court to declare as unconstitutional, First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu’s action of counting himself as one of the MPs on the floor even while presiding over the proceedings of the house in relation to the formation of a quorum for the passage of the 2022 budget which had earlier been rejected and thrown out by the minority side.

    Justice Abdulai was of the view that once a deputy speaker, who is an MP presides in the stead of the Speaker, he loses his right to vote.

    The Supreme Court’s ruling effectively means either of the two deputy Speakers can vote while presiding over the house.

    Reacting to the ruling at a press conference shortly after it had been pronounced, Mr Iddrisu said: “The decision of the Supreme Court of Ghana amounts to a judicial interference in a time-tested parliamentary practice and established conventions.”

    He noted: “Everywhere in the world, in civilised democracies, including the United Kingdom, the presiding officer’s vote is discounted, so, it’s not for nothing that Article 102 provides that ‘A person presiding shall have no original nor casting vote’.”

    In his view, the Supreme Court ruling is just a “judicial support for e-levy and nothing more, judicial support for a struggling economy in distress and a judicial support for the restoration of a matter that they have said is constitutional; it’s repugnant to the provisions of Articles 102 and 104”.

    Despite acknowledging that the Supreme Court has the mandate to interpret the law, Mr Iddrisu maintained “this is a travesty of parliamentary justice and a stab in the growth and development of multiparty constitutional democracy built on the spirit of checks and balances…”






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