The Supreme Court has dismissed a case challenging the powers of President John Dramani Mahama by the Ghana Bar Association and three others on the appointments of judges to the superior courts.
The plaintiffs had accused the president of disregarding a Judicial Council’s recommendation to appoint people to the Supreme Court, but the court on Wednesday ruled that the advice of the Council cannot be binding on the President of Ghana.
It further noted that it would amount to absurdity if recommendations by the council are made binding on the president. That would mean if the council recommends, for example, that over 90 people be appointed to the various courts, the president would have to comply, the Supreme Court explained.
Following the appointments of Justices Yaw Apau and Gabriel Pwamang to the Supreme Court by the President, the GBA together with Nene Amegatcher, then President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA); Justin Amenuvor, then National Secretary of GBA; and Frank Beecham, former president of the Association went to court arguing that the appointment did not follow due process.
The plaintiffs relied on Article 144 clause 2 which stipulates that, “The other Supreme Court Justices shall be appointed by the President acting on the advice of the Judicial Council, in consultation with the Council of State and with the approval of Parliament.”
According to the plaintiffs, the president in appointing the two did not fully comply with the recommendation of the Judicial Council which they felt was a breach of the process.
The plaintiffs therefore prayed to the court for four reliefs
- A declaration that upon true and proper construction of Article 114 clauses (2) and (3) of the 1992 Constitution, all appointments made by the President of the Republic of Ghana to the Superior Courts are valid only to the extent that such appointments are made in strict accordance with the advice of the 2nd defendant herein, the Judicial Council.
- A declaration that upon true and proper interpretation of Article 144 (2) and (3) of the 1992 Constitution, a constitutional trust is created in the 2nd defendant herein, the Judicial Council, to make nominations of the person(s) best qualified to serve as Justices of the Superior Courts of Judicature and the 2nd Defendant is required to ensure that such nominations are actually submitted by the President to Parliament for approval after due consultations with the Council of State
- A declaration that accordingly, upon true and proper construction of the Article 144 clauses (2) and (3) of the 1992 Constitution the Judicial Council of the Republic of Ghana has a constitutional obligation to specifically advise the President of the Republic of Ghana as to which specific person(s) is/are suitable for appointment to serve as Justice(s) of the Superior Courts of Judicature in accordance with which advice the President is mandatorily required to exercise his powers of appointment.
- A declaration that an appointment or non-appointment by the President of the Republic of Ghana of a Justice of the Superior Court in a manner out of accord with the advice of the Judicial Council is unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.
But the panel, chaired by Justice William Atuguba, on Wednesday acknowledged the powers of the president to appoint people to the apex courts. The panel subsequently dismissed the case.
By Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana