private legal practitioner and a member of the legal team of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), David Annan has described Justice Jones Dotse’s interview with the media over the Supreme Court’s ruling as problematic and unfortunate.
“There is a problem with what Justice Dotse said. What he did is unethically. There was no need for a sitting and a current Supreme Court judge to give search an interpretation. He knows that his comments was unethical. This not done, for a sitting judge to give an interpretation of an interpretation over an interpretation given”.
The lawyer said it will be important to note that, the order did not specifically order the Electoral Commission (EC) to delete names of persons who registered with the NHIS cards, thus any attempt to apply for contempt against the EC will fail since the Commission has not disobeyed the court order.
“The EC has not said that they will not delete any names. That is not true, and that is why any contempt to apply for contempt will fail. It will fail on the grounds that the order itself does not specifically state that they should remove NHIS names, that is the first point. And the second point why any attempt to go for contempt will fail is because the EC has not disobeyed the court order; in fact they have started that they are going to comply with it”.
He added “the issue is, some people in the NPP want the EC to automatically delete the names by their own volition. According to the NPP, the EC has said that they have the software to identify such persons when it was evident in court that, the EC denied knowledge of such registrants.”
The lawyer insisted that the ruling explained explicitly in their ruling that the EC should delete undesirable names on the register but not specifically those who registered with NHIS cards.
Justice Dotse has exposed himself to public criticism based on his comments or media interview he granted on the ruling.
”There was no need for Justice Dotse to make that statement. Because by doing so, you expose yourself to criticisms.
Secondly if the case is brought back before the Supreme Court, and there is any dispute as to the interpretation, you will have to excuse yourself because you already know where you stand on the issue, and that is the problem. The third problem with what he said is that, those who do understand the ruling should come back to court. You do not first all encourage litigants by encouraging the petitioners to come back to court. When you give a ruling on a matter in court, you do not comment on it again, period.”
Lawyer David Annan in an interview with Rainbow Radio concluded that the judge had no business encouraging parties to come back to court over a court ruling.
He emphasized that the court cannot direct the EC as to how to go about their functions but can only order to discharge their functions, as entrenched by law.
“There is no difficult in understanding what the ruling is, because both the petitioners and the NPP are being mischievous. The ruling was clear and there is no way the petitioners can go back to court to seek interpretation of an interpretation given by the court”.