Be fair, firm and consistent in handling election-related cases, Justice Dotse admonishes judges, magistrates(May 27, 2016)
Judges and magistrates have been admonished to be fair, firm and consistent in handling election-related matters ahead of the November presidential and parliamentary elections.
A Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, who said this, stressed, “We are urging you to be consistent in whatever decision you give.
"We don’t expect a magistrate sitting in Kumasi to give a ruling/sentence in similar circumstances and another magistrate in Ho giving a different ruling/sentence which will create more confusion,"he sa
He was speaking at a training programme to build the capacity of selected magistrates and judges from the district, magistrate, circuit and High courts on CI 91 in Accra.
The CI 91 spells out processes for registration, offences and penalties for the conduct of elections.
It replaces CI 72 which regulated the 2012 elections and is a bit different from CI 72 because, for the first time, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards have been removed as proof of identity as a Ghanaian to be allowed to register for elections in Ghana.
Mr Justice Dotse said the training had become necessary to deal with potential issues of litigation that might arise out of the just-ended limited registration exercise.
The respected voice on the Bench on election issues said, “As judges and magistrates, our responsibility is to ensure absolute transparency, integrity, competence and the rule of law.”
He said the duties of the Bench concerning CI 91 were sensitive, as “any faulty start could send wrong signals to society but at the same time we have to be seen to be fair and firm”.
While urging the magistrates and judges to enforce the law from their understanding, he also urged them to be bold to prevent allegations of favouritism from political
Hear cases on merit
Another Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Sulley Gbadegbe, also urged the participants to expedite action on all election-related cases that would come before them to make it possible for the EC to exhibit the register as planned.
“Try not to allow the cases to drag on like any other cases because the process involved in elections is time bound,” he stated.
He urged the participants to forward their decisions to the EC “because the commission would be required to keep or delete names from the register within 14 days after the court had reached its decision, if there is no appeal”.
He advised them to ensure that each issue was heard on its merit and not thrown out based on technicalities in order not to disfranchise potential voters.