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General News of Thursday, 26 November 2020

Source: etvghana.com

Maurice Ampaw lauds Supreme Court for 42 days Presidential Petition timeframe

Private legal practitioner, Maurice Ampaw Private legal practitioner, Maurice Ampaw

Ghanaian lawyer, Maurice Ampaw has commended the Supreme Court for making two major changes to the Supreme Court (Amendment) (No.2) Rules, 2016 (C.I. 99) which was enacted into law by Parliament in 2017.

He motioned that the Supreme Court’s decision to resolve any electoral dispute that may arise from this year’s election within 42 days is an important decision that will save the country a lot of money and time, unlike the election petition which took place in 2013.

“It is highly important for this new directive to have been put in place by the Supreme Court. This makes the Lawyers for both parties serious and also saves the country a lot of money and reduces tension. The Lawyers will now work judiciously and will not waste our money as judges will not be paid allowances for 8 months as it happened in 2013”.

The learned fellow furthered, the amendment which sees to it that only the declared winner of the presidential poll and the Electoral Commission (EC) can be respondents to a presidential election petition is also welcoming news.

“Some people are difficult and will want to drag issues by joining in the petition and wasting everyone’s time. Now the parties cannot join their candidates in court to delay the process. In 2013, if the election petition had been between former President Mahama, EC and President Akufo-Addo, it would’ve been short. The involvement of the NDC in the matter slowed the process. The lawyers representing the NDC and President Mahama then said the same things”.

When asked why the Supreme Court did not use the amendment back then, he admitted the Court had some difficulty in interpreting the law and have now seen to its adjustment.

Any electoral dispute that will arise from this year’s presidential election will be determined by the Supreme Court within 42 days.

Again, only the declared winner of the presidential poll and the Electoral Commission (EC) can be respondents to a presidential election petition.

This is a major departure from the 2013 presidential election petition filed by then-candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, which travelled more than eight months and which had the National Democratic Congress (NDC) being allowed to join as a respondent.

New Supreme Court rules

The two major changes form part of the new Supreme Court (Amendment) (No.2) Rules, 2016 (C.I. 99) which was enacted into law by Parliament in 2017.

Per Rule 69C (4) of C.I. 99, the pre-trial of the petition shall be on the 10th day after the filing of the petition, with hearing commencing on the 15th day and ending on the 21st day respectively after the filing, while judgment will be on the 42nd day.

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