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.
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.
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.
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