March 1, 2012 (Page 19)
THE Supreme Court has struck out the name of the Speaker Parliament from a suit instituted by a retired journalist who is challenging the creation of additional 42 districts across the country.
Welford Quarcoo, is praying the Supreme Court to declare the creation of the new districts as null and void on the grounds that Section 1 (2) of the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) which mandated the President to declare an area a district and assign a name to that district by Executive Instrument was inconsistent with Article 241 (2) and 106 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and consequently void.
The plaintiff sued the Attorney-General, The Speaker of Parliament and the Electoral Commission but the nine member panel unanimously struck out the name of the Speaker of Parliament.
According to the court, presided over by Mr Justice William, the name of the Speaker of Parliament was improperly joined in the suit because the Attorney-General was a nominal defendant for arms of the state.
Other members of the panel were Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, Professor Justice S. K. Date-Bah, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Justice G. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
The court also gave counsel for the applicant, Mr Bright Okyere-Agyekum to file additional issues in a supplement affidavit.
The matter was adjourned to March 14, 2012 to enable the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Benjamin Kunbuor, who was present in court to serve the state’s affidavit in opposition on the applicant.
In addition to the substantive suit, the applicant has filed an interlocutory injunction praying the court to restrain the Minister of Local Government from laying a new Legislative Instrument on the new districts before Parliament.
Despite the court action which was instituted on January 27, 2012, LI for the creation of additional districts and municipalities has been laid before Parliament by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
The LI, which will mature 21 days after its presentation, will also provide the platform for the Electoral Commission (EC) to create more constituencies in the run-up to the December general election.
The motion on notice for interlocutory injunction is seeking among other reliefs an order directed at the Atttorney-General to direct the Minister of Local Government and Rural
Development or any other Minister from laying in Parliament any LI
made pursuant to Section 3 of the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462)
pending the hearing and final determination of the action.
It is also seeking an order directed at the Speaker of Parliament from
permitting to be laid before Parliament for the consideration of
Parliament by the Minister of Local Government or any other Minister
any legislative instrument made pursuant to Section 3 of the Local
Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) or pursuant to any other section or
provision in any other enactment pending the hearing and final
determination of the action.
The motion is praying the court to restrain the Electoral Commission
from acting in any way whatsoever pursuant to directions made by the
President in furtherance of Section 1 (3) of the Local Government Act,
1993 (Act 462).
An affidavit in support of the motion for interlocutory injunction
stated among others that despite the court action, the Ministry of
Local Government has taken steps to lay the LI before Parliament and
unless stopped by the highest court of the land, the administration of
justice would be undermined.