Deputy Speakers can count themselves & vote in Parl-SC
The Supreme Court has ruled that Deputy Speakers have right to vote whilst presiding..
The court ruled that a Deputy Speaker of Parliament can be counted during the formation of a quorum for parliamentary decision-making and participation in voting.
Presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, the apex court further affirmed the approval of 2022 budget without NDC MPs’ participation.
A Ghanaian private legal parctioner Justice Abdulai filed the case against the Attorney General.
He prayed the court to interpret Articles 102 and 104 of the 1992 Constitution and declare the action of Mr Osei Owusu as unconstitutional.
He had also asked the court to declare the whole proceedings in Parliament on November 30, 2021, which led to the passage of the 2022 budget as unconstitutional.
It was his argument that the Deputy Speaker should not have counted himself as an MP when he presided over proceedings.
The Attorney-General (A-G), Godfred Yeboah Dame, who represented the argued that there is no express provision in the 1992 Constitution that stops a Deputy Speaker presiding over proceedings from voting or counting himself as part of MPs present to form the right quorum.
He averred that the quorum in Parliament formed under Article 102 is different from the quorum formed under Article 104 of the 1992 Constitution.
“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 him, 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.
He said unlike Article 102, which precludes a “person presiding” from being part of the quorum, Article 104 (2) precludes explicitly “The Speaker”.
In his view, only the person elected as “The Speaker” of Parliament is barred from forming part of the quorum under Article 104 when presiding, and not the Deputy Speakers who preside over proceedings.
The court affirmed his arguments ruling that a Deputy Speaker can vote during proceedings.
The court comprised of Justices Jones Dotse, Nene Amegatcher, Prof Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Clemence Honyenuga, and Emmanuel Kulendi.