Former MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarik has hailed Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu for his swift response to the Supreme Court’s judgment on whether a deputy speaker of parliament can vote while presiding in the house on a matter.
“The Minority Leader couldn’t have put it any better. Bizarre ruling. This grotesque undermine of Parliament by the Supreme Court in their weird ruling is a threat to national security”, Ras wrote on Facebook.
“Which opposition MP is going to watch aloof for a Deputy Speaker who’s presiding to cast a ballot at the same time? I worry for the survival of the 4th Republic. Utterly reckless”, he added.
The Supreme Couon on Wednesday March 9 ruled that a Deputy Speaker of Parliament can be counted during the formation of a quorum for parliamentary decision-making and participation in voting while presiding.
The Court presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, therefore, affirmed the approval of the 2022 budget without NDC MPs’ participation.
Private Legal Practitioner Justice Abdulai filed the case against the Attorney General.
He had asked the Supreme Court to interpret Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution and declare the action of Mr Osei Owusu as unconstitutional.
He also wanted the Supreme Court to declare the whole proceedings in Parliament on November 30, 2021, which led to the passage of the 2022 budget as unconstitutional insisting the Deputy Speaker should not have counted himself as an MP when he presided over proceedings.
However, in defence on behalf of the state, the Attorney-General (A-G), Godfred Yeboah Dame, argued that no express provision in the 1992 Constitution stops a Deputy Speaker presiding over proceedings from voting or counting himself as part of MPs present to form the right quorum.
He argued that the quorum in Parliament formed under Article 102 is different from the quorum formed under Article 104 of the 1992 Constitution.
He stated that the quorum under Article 102 is for the conduct of business in Parliament, and that is why Article 102 provides that it should be one-third of members.
“Given that Parliament presently is made up of 275 members, the quorum under Article 102 for the conduct of its business is 92 MPs,” the A-G submitted.
According to the A-G, based on the clear provision of Article 102, any person presiding, either the Speaker or Deputy Speakers, is precluded from being part of that quorum.
On the other hand, the A-G believes that the quorum under Article 104 (1), which deals with the determination of matters through voting in Parliament, requires at least half of all MPs, and such a quorum is not the same as the one in Article 102.
Mr Dame contends that unlike Article 102, which precludes a “person presiding” from being part of the quorum, Article 104 (2) precludes explicitly “The Speaker”.
Reacting to the ruling, the minority leader described decision to the court as “travesty of justice” and failure of the judiciary on Parliamentary democracy.
“From today, maybe there will be a new deviation of who a First or a Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament is. Maybe, they don’t deserve us according them the offices they occupy, maybe that is what the Supreme Court is ruling. We will just recognise them as MP of Fomena and MP for Bekwai and nothing more,” Mr Iddrisu said in a reaction at a press briefing in Parliament.