AN ACCRA High Court has dismissed an application filed by the New Vision Party (NVP) which sought to challenge the legality of the Electoral Commission to disqualify their Presidential Candidate from contesting the December 7 elections.
The political party as applicant on Wednesday, October 31, 2012, through its lawyer J.K. Yeboah moved an application for interlocutory injunction against the EC.
This was to restrain the EC from printing the presidential ballot papers for the election till the determination of a suit it has filed challenging the disqualification of its presidential candidate, Prophet Daniel Nkansah.
The court presided over by Sir Justice Dennis Adjei, a Court of Appeal judge with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, yesterday dismissed the application after observing that if the injunction was granted, it would lead to constitutional crisis.
Though the judge acknowledged the fact that the applicant would suffer some hardship, as it would not be able to contest the presidential race in the coming election, he argued that the nation would suffer an irreparable hardship, should the injunction succeed.
The judge, who pointed out that the country needed to elect a president on December 7, to govern the country held that this case could not be used to enforce human right under Article 33.
The judge added that the public interest in this case superseded that of the individual interest and subsequently dismissed the application with a cost of GH¢500 against the applicant.
At the last sitting the court raised the issue of jurisdiction of the High Court to hear cases of such nature and invited counsel for the applicant and that of the EC to argue on the matter.
Both lawyers were of the opinion that the court had a jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The trial judge, before dismissing the application, agreed with the lawyers that the issue before it was not challenging any electoral outcome and hence, did not need to be sent to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
Mr. Yeboah, when he moved the injunction application, argued that the EC’s rejection of their candidate’s nomination forms was unlawful and arbitrary to the constitution.
According to counsel, they were in court for the injunction because the party would suffer great hardship after it has won its case and the EC would have to accept his nomination form as the presidential candidate since the presidential candidates have already balloted for their positions on the ballot paper.
He was of the view that it was a case in which the wheel of law could apply its brake on EC to stop any further movement, in the sense that there was no justifiable reason for which the EC refused to accept the nomination form.
The EC, represented by James Quarshie Idun, denied the claims made by the plaintiff that their forms were rejected on flimsy grounds and prayed the court to dismiss their application.
He explained that the plaintiff did not complete the form as they were full of blank spaces.
He argued that the EC had “the constitutional duty to conduct the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on December 7, 2012, and any delay in carrying out the necessary preparations for the election would be detrimental to the whole nation.”
Meanwhile, in the substantive suit, the New Vision Party was seeking three reliefs including a “declaration that the refusal of the defendant to accept the presidential forms of the plaintiff is unlawful.
An order compelling the defendant to accept the presidential nomination forms of the plaintiff and same register.
A further order directing the defendant to add the name of the plaintiff to the presidential ballot papers for the December 2012 presidential election.”
A date was yet to be fixed for that case as counsel wanted to amend his writ.
By Mary Anane