You’re masters of your rules but your rules also have a master – Supreme Court replies Parliament

You’re masters of your rules but your rules also have a master – Supreme Court replies Parliament

The Supreme Court of Ghana has advised Parliamentarians not to sidestep the 1992 Constitution of Ghana in discharging their duties in Parliament.

The Supreme Court in their ruling that was made available on Friday, March 11 2022 to indicate that Deputy Speakers can vote while presiding in the House, stated that “…Even though Parliament is a master of its own procedure, it cannot be overemphasized that all the House’s rules, orders, procedures and practices also have a master, the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

Specifically, the Supreme Court Justices noted that “the authority of Parliament to regulate its own procedure is expressly subject to the provisions of the Constitution as provided in Article 110(1) of the constitution.”

Earlier, Ningo Prampram Member of Parliament, Samuel Nartey George has stated that even though the Supreme Court had given its ruling that Deputy speakers can vote while presiding, Parliament is a master of its own rules and procedures.

He explained that “the ruling, instead of bringing clarity on the matter, has rather brought confusion.

“They have given their ruling we have heard but I believe that there is a reason why our standing orders say that parliament is a master of its own affairs and that the procedure in Parliament resides in the bosom of Mr Speaker.

“For me, I cannot, for the life of me, be part of what I will deem an illegality which will be that the person presiding in the House will take part in a vote he is superintending over. I do not know what position my leadership or my party will take but my principled position is one that states that anyone presiding, be it Mr Speaker or any of his two deputies has absolutely no business taking part in the vote on the floor. “We will employ every legal means within the Parliamentary procedure to ensure that this long time tested practice of parliament which is 30 years old this year, will be upheld until the Lord Justices decide to start expunging part of the constitution like 104(5) for us to see that the application of the law is not skewed and imbalanced. I do not see why anyone who has conflict of interest should be allowed to vote,” he said

Sam George questioned, “Why the Lord Justices go silent on Standing Orders of Parliament that says that a chairman of a committee doesn’t have a vote, why are they not saying that that is also a deprivation of his constituents”.

He said “We pray the Lord Justices, their role is to bring clarity not rather lead us to confusion and obfuscate what the facts are. The Law is clear. We have heard them, they have passed their ruling but Parliament we are masters of our own procedure, we will carry out what we believe is right on the floor of the chamber”.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 9 2022, dismissed an application to pronounce as unconstitutional, Joseph Osei Owusu’s action of counting himself for the purposes of quorum.

Led by Justice Jones Dotse, the 7-member panel of justices ruled that the Member of Parliament for Bekwai exercised his right constitutionally and subsequently struck out the standing order 109(3) which says a Deputy Speaker or any other member presiding shall not retain his original vote while presiding.

See attached file for the full ruling.

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