Supreme Court clears Electoral Commission to proceed with voters registration exercise

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Since the announcement of its decision to compile a new voters register, the election body has received lots of backlash from some section of the Ghanaian population and some political institutions, notably, the National Democratic Congress. The leading opposition party, National Democratic Congress, dragged the Electoral Commission of Ghana to the Court over the body’s decision to refuse the use of the existing Voters identification card as proof of identity for the upcoming exercise.

Also, a private individual, Mr Mark Takyi-Banson, filed a fresh case against the Electoral Commission at the Supreme Court. He required the Court to stop the electoral body from compiling a new register as he felt the exercise violates the provisions of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Additionally, he sought the Court to rule against the electoral body’s decision to refuse birth certificates as proof of identity for the upcoming exercise.

Based on these facts, the Supreme Court has finally made a ruling on the matter. The Supreme Court of Ghana has cleared the electoral body (Electoral Commission) to proceed with the compilation of the new voters register for purposes of the upcoming general elections in December 2020. The Court has found the Electoral Commission to be an independent body, and thus, its actions can only be guided by the Court if it violates provisions of the law.

“By this decision, the Electoral Commission, i.e. 2nd Defendants in Suit No. J1/9/2020 and 1st Defendants in Suit No. J1/12/2020 are hereby directed to commence the compilation of the voter registration exercise as scheduled. By these decisions and, by virtue of Article 130 (2) of the Constitution any court in which same or similar action is pending or yet to be filed shall apply the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in these consolidated suits. Reasons will be filed on or before the 15th of July 2020,” the Supreme Court directed.

The Court further dismissed the National Democratic Congress’s application to the Court to direct the Electoral Commission to accept the existing Voters Identification Cards as proof of identity for the upcoming compilation exercise. Additionally, the Supreme Court, by its power, has halted actions to all applications presented at various courts against the Electoral Commission on merit its decision to compile the new voters register and any associated cases thereof.

“By these decisions and, by virtue of Article 130 (2) of the Constitution any court in which same or similar action is pending or yet to be filed shall apply the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in these consolidated suits,” the Supreme Court said.

By the ruling of the Supreme Court, the Electoral Commission would proceed with the new voters registration exercise as scheduled and the refusal of birth certificates and the current voters ID cards as proof of identity remains valid. The ruling was passed today, the 25th of June 2020 by the Supreme Court of Ghana, presided over by a seven-member panel.

 

 

 

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