Supreme Court declares portion of Revenue Act unconstitutional

Accra The Supreme Court in a unanimous � seven to zero decision has struck down paragraphs 1(9) and 2(8) of the First Schedule of the Revenue Administrative Act 2016 (Act) 915, saying it was in contravention with the law.

The said paragraph 2(8) states that a person shall be required to have a Taxpayer Identification Number, (TIN) before accessing the court , while 1(9) states that a juvenile under the juvenile Act, 2003 (Act 653) is prevented from filing a case in court unless that juvenile quotes a TIN.

The plaintiff, Centre for Juvenile Delinquency invoked the jurisdiction of the court, that the provision in the Revenue Administration Act 2016 (Act 915) that require a person to have a TIN for the purpose of filing a case in court was unconstitutional.

They prayed the court to pronounce the law null and void, as it was discriminatory.

However Mr Cephas Odartey Lamptey, Counsel the Ghana Revenue Authority, which is the first defendant, argued that the obtaining a TIN comes with no cost and its requirement was one of the measures to ensure tax compliance.

He said a tax payer who chooses not to acquire a TIN does so at their own risk.

The Attorney General represented by Mrs Grace Awu, Principal State Attorney, also raised preliminary legal objection that the plaintiff had not properly invoked the jurisdiction of the court.

The seven- member panel chaired by Justice Mrs Sofia Ophelia Adjiriba Adinyira, who was giving her valedictory judgement in the apex court struck down the provision saying if such provision was enforced it would deprive a lot of people from expressing their fundamental human rights by accessing the court.

She said unhampering access to the court was fundamental to the rule of law in the country.

The panel held the view that the said paragraphs clearly offend the spirit of the constitution. They are unconstitutional and are of no effect. There is the need to struck the balance for citizens to pay tax and the freedom to access the court

Mrs Adinyira said it was mere inconvenience and impedes access to justice. The only premise in law is that, a person must be a citizen of Ghana, every citizen and non-citizens must have access to the courts.

On the issues of jurisdiction, the court held that the plaintiff had properly invoked the jurisdiction of the court and had raised constitutional issues

Source: Ghana News Agency