A nine-member panel of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Gertrude Torkonoo has thrown out a lawsuit seeking to discontinue the proceedings of Parliament on the anti-LGBTQI+ bill on July 19 after it failed to convince the panel of its proposition.
The Apex Court dismissed the request for an injunction, stating that it is not convinced enough to grant the order once the matters raised are dealt with in the substantive case.
Principal Research Assistant, for the Centre for Gender Research Advocacy & Documentation (CEGRAD) at the University of Cape Coast, Dr. Amanda Odoi, petitioned the apex court on the suit in question after alleging that the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, currently being deliberated in parliament, which seeks to criminalize LGBTQI+ and its related activities, is a breach of the constitution.
She also cited that the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, contravened Article 108 of the 1992 Constitution after he failed to give his opinion on whether the bill could lead to financial consequences for the country through a charge on the consolidated fund.
However, following the court’s decision, the contempt cited against the Speaker has been duly withdrawn by the Legal team of the plaintiff. Her case was that the Speaker proceeded with the second reading of the bill in parliament and hence failed to adhere to court processes that were served on him, which included the suit seeking an injunction on parliament’s deliberation of the bill prior to the reading.
“That by his conduct in directing or causing Parliament to proceed to a Second Reading of the Bill, in full knowledge of the pending suit and related interlocutory injunction application, the Respondent has disregarded and disrespected the authority of this Court.
That such disregard interferes with the outcome of the pending litigation, brings the administration of justice into disrepute, and undermines public Ck side de in the judicial system” she stated.
Lawyers for Dr. Odoi, led by Counsel Ernest Ako, maintained that the bill would lead to the state expending money from the consolidated fund in the process of bill reading and assent.
“Per the nature of the provision of article 108…assuming this bill goes through and becomes law and money is expended from the consolidated fund, we would not get the money back meanwhile Ghanaians would not get the millions that would have been spent on this law.”
“If the application is granted and Parliament does not proceed and the substantive matter is determined, parliament would just have suffered a little by not proceeding with the bill in the interim,” he stated.
These arguments were rebutted by Chief State Attorney, Dr. Sylvia Aduse, who contended that the legal team of Dr. Odoi did not sufficiently prove the rights that should be protected or how the consideration of the bill will make them suffer.
“He should have proved this balance of convenience well but we have not seen any evidence of that. The speaker is doing his duty and cannot be injuncted.” She said.
Counsel for the Speaker, Thadeus Sory, urged the court to dismiss the request. “We pray that this application doesn’t satisfy any of the tests as set by this court and should be dismissed.”.he said
Consequently, Chief Justice Gertrude Torkonoo declared the case unmeritorious as the arguments made so far are not convincing enough to reach an order for injunction.
“We have considered the merits of this case and are of the considered view that a prima facie case has not been made to convince us to injunct the work of parliament.”
“Neither have we been convinced to injunct an uncompleted work of parliament. The issues raised by this application for injunction are matters to be determined by the substantive matter. This application for an injunction is dismissed.” The Chief Justice stated.
The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2022, seeks to address proper human sexual rights and will criminalize LGBQI+ perpetrators and those who promote them.