Court Dismisses Injunction Against EC

SThe Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an application seeking to place an interim injunction on the intended limited registration process by the Electoral Commission (EC).

The
application filed at the apex court by a private citizen, Umar Ayuba, intended to
put the exercise on hold until the final determination of a suit he filed
against the Attorney General (AG) and the EC in respect of the modalities for
the registration process.

He
sued the EC and the AG over the EC’s decision to register voters online during
its limited registration exercise on the grounds that the decision had not been
provided for in law.

He
stated that the balance of convenience tilted favourably towards the public interest,
especially those who stood to be disenfranchised and suppressed by the online
limited registration exercise if the EC was allowed to proceed with the
registration exercise pending the final determination of the suit before the
court.

The
case is still at its preliminary stage but the plaintiff filed an application
for interim injunction urging the court to order the EC not to commence the
limited registration process.

Suspension

The
EC last month had to suspend the intended limited registration due to the
ensuing legal tussles.

The
commission had scheduled June 7 to 27, 2019, for the registration of persons
who turned 18 in all its district offices and selected electoral areas across
the country.

However,
the EC in a statement signed by Sylvia Annoh of its Communications Directorate,
stated: “The EC wishes to announce for the information of the general public
that in view of a pending injunction application seeking to restrain the
commission from holding the limited voter registration exercise slated for June
7 to 27, 2019, the upcoming registration exercise has been put on hold until
further notice.”

According
to the statement, a new date for the exercise would be announced.

Injunction

Moving
the application on behalf of his client, Dr. Dominic Ayine, a private legal
practitioner, argued that if the current process being adopted by the EC in the
registration was not stopped by the court, it would result in voter suppression
in that a lot of people would not be able to register to vote.

He
indicated that about 1.7 million people are expected to register but with the
current approach being adopted by the EC, a huge number of people stand a
chance of not being able to register to vote in the 2020 elections.

He
therefore urged the court to place an injunction on the process to prevent the
breach of the voting rights of eligible Ghanaians.

Opposition

Deputy
Attorney General Godfred Yeboah and lawyer for the EC, Justine Amenuvor,
opposed the application urging the court to dismiss it.

Mr.
Dame averred that the applicant in his application did not disclose any
reasonable cause of action for which the court ought to halt
the process.

According
to him, the application is substantially and procedurally incompetent and
“wholly ambiguous and nothing else.”

“The
applicant has not established any legal right or whatsoever and the application
does not properly invoke the jurisdiction of the court”, Mr. Dame added.

On
his part, Mr. Amenuvor averred that “the action brought by the applicant
discloses no reasonable cause of action for which he can apply for an
interlocutory injunction on the exercise.”

After listening to both sides, a seven-member panel presided over by Justice Julius Ansah dismissed the application.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak

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