Private Legal Practitioner, Justice Abdulai, says his decision to seek clarity from the Supreme Court on whether a Deputy Speaker can retain his or her original vote while presiding, was not politically motivated.
According to the plaintiff, he is not a member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) or the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, Mr Justice Abdulai noted that his objective was to obtain a ruling, whether favourable or not, that would help bring citizens together and shape the growth of the country.
“The next objective was to get a judgment that all will embrace without having to tag it as a political judgment as has always been done in the country.
“Invariably, whatever judgment that would have been obtained if an NPP or NDC sponsored plaintiff had gone to court, most likely, we would have had a judgement however good it might be, people will still shoot it down on the basis that it is tainted with politics.”
Interacting with host, Samson Lardy Anyenini, he added that “it is a decision NPP and NDC will use going forward because it becomes a guiding principle for all of us.”
Mr. Justice Abdulai, in a case against the Attorney-General, asked the Supreme Court to interpret Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution and declare the action of Mr. Osei Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker, to be counted as a Member of Parliament while acting as Speaker, as unconstitutional.
He also wanted the Supreme Court to declare the whole proceedings in Parliament on November 30, 2021, which led to the passage of the 2022 Budget, as unconstitutional. He contended that the Deputy Speaker should not have counted himself as an MP when he presided over proceedings.
The Supreme Court ruled that a Deputy Speaker of Parliament can be counted during the formation of a quorum for parliamentary decision-making and participation in voting while presiding.
The court also struck out portions of the standing orders of Parliament which reads, “A Deputy Speaker or any other member presiding shall not retain his original vote while presiding.”
The Court presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, therefore, affirmed the approval of the 2022 budget without NDC MPs’ participation.
Following the ruling, the Minority in Parliament have expressed disapproval. Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, said the position of the Supreme Court is an “attack on the legislature.”
Also, former President John Mahama has said the apex court’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent for the country’s Parliamentary procedure.
However, First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu has welcomed the ruling by the Supreme Court, describing it as “refreshing.”
He believes the decision by the Supreme Court would help guide their practice as Members of Parliament and advance Ghana’s democracy.
Meanwhile, former President John Mahama has called on the applicant, Justice Abdulai, to apply for a review of this ruling since the Supreme Court is “leading us into the realm of absurdity.”
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