The Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) has finally filed a suit against the Ghana Police Service (GPS) and the Attorney General over not only the arbitrariness, but the use and abuse of court orders (injunctions) against the right to demonstrate.
It follows a recent action by the police which prevented LMVCA and other affiliated pressure groups from embarking on a picketing at the premises of the Electoral Commission (EC) to press home their demand for a new voter register ahead of the 2016 general elections.
A court had earlier ruled against the police claim that the place was a security zone, giving the group the green light to picket there; but the police later managed to secure another injunction from a circuit court against the intended picketing and asked the pressure groups to reschedule the event.
As contained in the Public Order Act, Ghanaians have a right to demonstrate upon giving the police five days’ notification.
But the continuous use of injunctions by the police is what has compelled the group to file a suit at an Accra high court seeking to quash the restraining order granted by the circuit court for lack of jurisdiction.
In the suit which was filed by Gifty Oware-Aboagye and the LMVCA by Nana Asante Bediatuo of Ampem Chambers, the plaintiffs insist that the continuous resort by the police to ex-parte applications is not only affecting their fundamental human rights, but a flagrant breach of the rules of natural justice.
“I am further advised by counsel and verily believe same to be true that pursuant to Section 6 of the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 491) and Articles 33 (1) and 33 (4) of the Constitution of Ghana, 1992, the circuit court has no jurisdiction to entertain the ex-parte applications hitherto brought by the police aforesaid, nor grant same,” Gifty Oware-Aboagye argued.
Plaintiffs insist that “The ex-parte applications brought by the police before the circuit court on 14, 18 and 25 September, 2015, and the orders made by the circuit court pursuant thereto were incompetent, void and of no legal effect for want of jurisdiction and breach of the rules of natural justice.”
They are therefore pleading with the high court to declare that the circuit court order of September 28, 2015 was made without jurisdiction and breached the audi alterem partem rule.