Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ghana: Supreme Court stops Electoral Commission from using NHIS cards for voters registration

The Supreme Court has upheld an application brought by Youth Organiser of the People's National Convention, Abu Ramadan, challenging the constitutionality of the decision of the Electoral Commission to use health insurance cards for the voters' registration exercise.

The Court has thus imposed an injunction on the electoral governing body, barring it from using the National Health Insurance Scheme cards as identity for registering voters for national elections. The PNC National Youth Organiser and a private lawyer Kwasi Danso-Acheampong, filed separate suits which were later merged to challenge the EC over the use of the national health insurance ID’s for the exercise. They asked the highest court of the land for a proper interpretation of Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution which states that "Every citizen of Ghana of eighteen years of age or above and of sound mind has the right to vote and is entitled to be registered as a voter for the purposes of public elections and referenda."

The plaintiffs argued that since one is not necessarily required to be a citizen to hold NHIS Card, accepting the card as a basis to register a person to vote in national elections is a violation of the constitution. The Supreme Court agreed and granted all the reliefs sought. The Court had earlier asked the EC to stop its public advertisement on the voter registration exercise while it determined the case before it. The judges had some harsh words for the EC which they said was acting with impunity. Wednesday's ruling means the EC can now proceed with the registration exercise but without the NHIS cards. The Court however deferred to August 17 to give the reasons for its ruling.

Source: Myjoy Online

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