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Supreme Court’s interrogatories ruling a grave injustice – Mahama

The National Democratic Congress Flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama has described the Supreme Court’s interrogatories ruling as a grave injustice.

The NDC Flagbearer, who is contesting the December 7, 2020, presidential elections, said the ruling is riddled with fundamental errors of law.

In its review application, lawyers for the petitioner said the court should have exercised its discretionary powers in accordance with article 296 of the constitution.

“Article 296 requires an authority vested with discretionary power to be fair and candid. The court got it wrong yet again when it took the view that the current rules requiring expeditious trial mean even amendments are not allowed,” it argued.

The petitioner’s legal team further explained that the apex court was bound by its 2012/13 ruling when the then NPP presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo challenged the election results.

According to them, since the apex court granted Mr Akufo-Addo, the right to serve the respondents the interrogatories, same should have been done in this case.

“Nothing in the current rule C.I. 99 supports the view the court took that interrogatories are not permitted. The court should in the interest of justice allow for the interrogatories to be served,” it added.

Mr Mahama’s review application comes after the apex court dismissed an application that sought to order the Electoral Commissioner to specifically respond to questions regarding anomalies that characterised the December 7, 2020, elections.

In a unanimous decision, on the preliminary issue, the apex court presided over by the Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah said the court rules had been amended with respect to interrogatories.

Interrogatories are a formal set of written questions propounded by one litigant and required to be answered by the opposing party or parties in order to clarify matters of fact and help to determine in advance what facts will be presented at any trial in the case.

The Chief Justice said the new regime did not afford the court the laxity of time to respond to allow such questions to be answered before the trial begins.

The court explained that “reference was made to the 2013 [presidential election] petition in which an application for interrogatories was granted by the Supreme Court.

“However, subsequent to 2013, several statutory amendments have been made by C.I. 99 of 2016 which has restricted the practice and procedure of this court as regards Election Petition.

“Indeed, Rule 69 of the Supreme Court amendment in C.I. 99 directs the expeditious disposal of petitions and sets timelines for this court to dispose off the petition. The amendments provide us [court] with new procedural regime and strict timelines.

We are strictly bound to comply with C.I. 90 and therefore we will not apply Order 22 of C.I. 45 of 2004 in this circumstances. We, accordingly, refuse to grant the application and same is accordingly dismissed,” the court said.

It was the case of the apex court that the petitioners simply wanted to delay the process.

The apex court, however, failed to comment on the review application but said it would incorporate its decision in its final judgement.

 

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