Former President John Mahama has expressed reservations about the ruling by the Supreme Court that a Deputy Speaker of Parliament can be counted during the formation of a quorum for parliamentary decision-making and participate in voting while presiding.
According to Mr Mahama, the ruling though shocking is not surprising.
He added the ruling is an unfortunate interpretation for convenience that sets a dangerous precedent of judicial interference in Parliamentary procedure for the future.
Mr Mahama made these remarks in a social media post.
A Private Legal Practitioner, Justice Abdulai, in a case against the Attorney-General, had asked the Supreme Court to interpret Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution and declare the action of Joseph Osei-Owusu being counted as a Member of Parliament (MP) while acting as Speaker, as unconstitutional.
He also wanted the Supreme Court to declare the whole proceedings in Parliament on November 30, 2021, which led to the passage of the 2022 Budget, as unconstitutional.
He contended that the Deputy Speaker should not have counted himself as a MP when he presided over proceedings.
But the apex court, presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, on Wednesday, affirmed the approval of the 2022 Budget without National Democratic Congress MPs’ participation.
This was in a 7-0 unanimous decision comprising Justices Jones Dotse, Nene Amegatcher, Prof Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Clemence Honyenuga, and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi.
The court also struck out portions of the standing orders of Parliament which reads: “A Deputy Speaker or any other member presiding shall not retain his original vote while presiding.”
Meanwhile, First Deputy Speaker, Mr Osei-Owusu, has welcomed the ruling, saying it is refreshing and affirms his earlier decision to join his colleagues on the Majority side to approve the 2022 Budget while presiding over proceedings of the House.
According to him, the decision by the Supreme Court would help guide their practice as MPs and advance Ghana’s democracy.
Read Mr Mahama’s post below: