Former President John Mahama has described the ruling by the Supreme Court that says Deputy Speakers of Parliament have the right to vote while presiding over the House as “an unfortunate interpretation.”
According to the former President, the ruling by the Supreme Court is for convenience.
In a unanimous decision on Wednesday, 9 March 2022, the apex court, presided over by a seven-member panel led by Justice Jones Dotse held that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 103 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution, a Deputy Speaker, who is a Member of Parliament, does not lose his right to take part in decision-making in parliament.
The decision comes after a lawyer, who is also a law lecturer, Justice Abdulai, petitioned the court to declare as unconstitutional, First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu’s action of counting himself as one of the MPs on the floor even while presiding over the proceedings of the house in relation to the formation of a quorum for the passage of the 2022 budget which had earlier been rejected and thrown out by the minority side.
Justice Abdulai was of the view that once a deputy speaker, who is an MP presides in the stead of the Speaker, he loses his right to vote.
The Supreme Court’s ruling effectively means either of the two deputy Speakers can vote while presiding over the house.
Reacting to the ruling in a Facebook post on Thursday, 10 March 2022, Mr Mahama said: “A unanimous 7-0? Shocking but not surprising.”
The former President added: “An unfortunate interpretation for convenience that sets a dangerous precedent of judicial interference in Parliamentary procedure for the future.”
Source: Modern Ghana