Demo saga: Political watchers applaud High Court ruling

Some political watchers are basking in the glory of a new court ruling prohibiting the police and the Attorney General from using the Circuit Court to stifle demonstrations.

The High Court presided over by Justice Dominic Dennis Adjei on Monday ruled in favour of the Let My Vote Count Alliance in a case in which the Alliance challenged the legality of the Circuit Court to prohibit them from embarking on a demonstration.

Members of the Alliance, for the second time, were seeking to embark on a demonstration to protest claims of a bloated voters’ register for the 2016 elections.

But the police hurried to the Circuit Court, ex-parte (without the notice of the Let My Vote Count Alliance) and sought an injunction against the group from proceeding with the demonstration.

This is not the first time the police have acted in that manner but the Alliance wanted it to be the last and therefore challenged the authority of the police to have the circuit court, rule on an ex-parte motion.

On Monday Justice Dominic Dennis ruled in favour of the Alliance saying the Circuit Court cannot be the right platform to prohibit Ghanaians from embarking on a demonstration.

Lawyer to the Let My Vote Count Alliance Nana Asante Bediatuo told Joy News the ruling is a vindication for all human right advocates.

He argued demonstrations are part of the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians which must be respected at all times.

He said the attempts by the police to trample on the rights of the citizenry by using the circuit court is unacceptable.

Nana Asante Bediatuo said if the police were minded to stop any demonstration, at all the right platform to go is the High Court and not the Circuit Court.

More importantly, Nana Bediatuo quoted the ruling as saying the police cannot go to the court ex-parte and that at all times they must inform the party against whom they are seeking to prohibit from proceeding on a demonstration.

He said the Public Order Act only allows the police to be notified as to when, where the demonstration will take place and not necessarily to seek the police permission before embarking on a demonstration.

He said if the police want to restrict time and venue for the demonstration the best place to go is the High Court.

The Vice President of IMANI Ghana, Kofi Bentil also applauded the ruling by the court. He said for years the police have scuttled attempts by ordinary citizens to embark on demonstrations and the ruling even though belated is good for the country’s democracy.

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