Supreme Court schools Parliament on rulings

On March 9, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled unanimously that Deputy Speakers presiding over Parliamentary sessions can vote on matters and be counted as part of a quorum for decision-making.

The Minority, led by Haruna Iddrisu, has denounced the verdict, calling it “judicial support of President Nana Akufo-E-Levy, Addo’s which he is attempting to pass.”

While other critics have called it an affront to the separation of powers idea. Others argue that the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction.

Former President John Dramani Mahama stated in his speech that the court’s judgment could damage the legislative branch of government’s independence, as well as deliberations in the House.

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However, the Supreme Court in its ruling said: “parliamentary standing orders are subservient to the Constitution and in any case, no arm of Government or agency of the State, including Parliament, is a law unto itself because, without exception, everyone and everything in Ghana is subject to the Constitution”

According to the SC, “the Constitution in Article 2 confers on any person who alleges that an act or omission of any person is inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution the right to apply to this Court for a declaration to that effect”.

“Framers of successive Constitutions of Ghana have consistently moved in one direction, away from Parliamentary sovereignty towards constitutional supremacy, wherein sovereignty resides in the people of Ghana and no authority or institution is above the law.”

The apex court further indicated that “an allegation that Parliament has acted and/or is acting in a manner that is inconsistent with, in contravention of and/or ultra vires to the Constitution, will render Parliament, the actions, orders, rules, procedures, or practices of Parliament that contradict, are inconsistent with, or purport to confer on Parliament, powers not vested by the Constitution, will sin against Articles 1(2), 2(1) of the Constitution”.

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