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21 July 2016

Supreme Court okays Mahama’s appointment of SC judges

Supreme courtThe Supreme Court has dismissed a case challenging the power and authority of the president to appoint justices of the Supreme Court without the advice of the Judicial Council.

The apex court ruled that to grant such a request  will be the height of judicial absurdity.

The Ghana Bar Association and two other lawyers of the Association challenged the president’s power to appoint Justices Yaw Apau and Gabriel Pwamang without consulting the Judicial Council.

According to the plaintiffs the president breached vital procedures in the appointment and confirmation of the two justices who have since sat on a number of cases.

They sought four reliefs, including a declaration that an “appointment or non-appointment by the President of the Republic of Ghana of a Justice of the Superior Court in a manner out of accord with the advice of the Judicial Council is unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.”

They prayed the court to nullify the appointments. But the judges ruled otherwise.

Joy News’ Joseph Ackah Blay who was in court reported the justices as saying that it will be absurd to make it binding on the president to consult and take the advice of the Judicial Council in the appointment of a Supreme Court judge.

The judges ruled that if they were to grant the request of the plaintiffs the implication will be that if the Judicial Council were to propose about 100 justices the president may have to appoint all of them.

They further explained that there is a lot of checks and balances on the president, including an approval from Parliament as well as the Council of State, to ensure that his powers are not abused.

The same court also dismissed the suit filed by a journalist with Citi FM challenging the authority of the president to appoint the Electoral Commissioner.

Richard Dela Skyy said the president’s appointment of Mrs Charlotte Osei as replacement for the retired Electoral Commissioner Dr Kwadwo Afari was not procedural.

He would rather the Council State initiate the process of appointing a new Commissioner rather than the president taking that initiative.

He quoted  Article 91(4)of the 1992 Constitution, which states in part that it is the Council of State that has the Constitutional mandate to initiate the process of appointment of the Chairman, the Deputies and other Commissioners of the Electoral Commission; And such advice on a suitable candidate(s)to be appointed constitutionally is other Commissioners binding on the President.

Skyy wanted the Supreme Court to “determine true and proper meaning of constitutional provisions” that relates to the process of appointing an Electoral Commissioner.

Joseph Ackah Blay reported the judges as saying the plaintiff did not make a case of judicial breach and was only asking for advice which they should have gotten from the Solicitor General.

The judges therefore dismissed that case too.

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