The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed on technical grounds an application by the National Youth Organiser of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Abu Ramadan, for a review of its earlier ruling which made it possible for an appeal to be filed in an election petition.
The court, by a 9-0 unanimous decision, ruled that Mr Ramadan had no jurisdiction to file a review because he was not a party to the original case.
“Ramadan has no locus to file a review on the matter,” the court said.
Consequently, the judges have set October to give a comprehensive reason for the verdict given, adding that it would announce a specific day in October, 2013 to effect that.
Mr Ramadan had applied to the Supreme Court to review its decision allowing any party aggrieved by the judgement on a presidential petition to file for a review.
He also prayed the court to review its decision not to sit on a presidential petition on public holidays and weekends.
The court had, on April 30, 2013, ruled that the directive by Rule 69 C (5) of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (CI 74), which provides in part that “the court shall sit from day to day, including public holidays, when hearing a presidential election petition”, was unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.
Court of Instance Decision
In a unanimous decision, the court held that a review of its decisions was a right created by Article 133 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.
Article 133 (1) of the Constitution states: “The Supreme Court may review any decision made or given by it on such grounds and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by rules of court.”
The decision related to a suit filed at the court by the General Secretary of the PNC, Mr Bernard Anbataayela Mornah, seeking “a declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of articles 133, 157, 93(2) and 11 of the 1992 Constitution, Rule 71B and a part of Rule 69C (5) of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (CI 74) were unconstitutional and must be declared null and void and of no effect”.
In an affidavit in support of his application for review, Mr Ramadan, who is also a leading member of the Let My Vote Count Alliance, a pressure group, said, “Although I was not an original party to the constitutional writ titled Suit No. J1/7/2013 between Bernard Anbataayela Mornah and the Attorney-General, a decision of which was handed down by this Honourable Court on 30th April, 2013, I am pioneering this review application in defence of the Constitution.”
He argued that the decision under reference was not private in nature, as it was public in character and having far-reaching consequences for Ghana’s constitutionally sanctioned democracy and the rule of law.
According to the applicant, the decision undermined the 1992 Constitution itself, the powers of the Judiciary had been unfortunately subordinated to the Executive, the existing body of law, procedure was thrown into confusion, among others, which presented exceptional circumstances which were compelling enough to persuade the Supreme Court to review the decision of the court dated 30th April, 2013.
Implication of Court Ruling
By that decision, the loser in the ongoing 2012 presidential election petition has the right to ask for a review.
The judges hearing the case cannot sit on holidays by virtue of the court’s decision.
By Michael Donkor/Daily Graphic/Ghana