The Minority in Parliament has described the Chief Justice’s petition against lawmaker Dominic Ayine at the General Legal Council as an attack on free speech.
Mr. Ayine is reported to have said the Supreme Court failed to apply the rules of procedure during the trial. He is also believed to have raised concerns over the regular dismissal of the petitioners’ applications during the case.
He made the comments at an event organized by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and the KNUST.
The petition by the CJ urged the GLC to probe the lawmaker and apply the necessary sanctions.
In a statement, the Minority said the move by the Chief is aimed at gagging dissenting views.
“The Chairman of the General Legal Council who is also the Chairman of the Judicial Council and head of the Judicial Service has already determined that the comments are “totally unacceptable” and wants the Disciplinary Committee of his Council to investigate it further. It is against this backdrop that we, the Minority Caucus in Parliament find this invitation to be in utter bad faith and meant to be an attack on free speech on Parliament, as an institution, and also an affront to democratic and academic freedom. This invitation is also seen to be an attack on freedom of expression and deepens the growing concern about the culture of silence, which is gradually lingering its ugly head in our democratic dispensation.
“Dr. Ayine’s comments be appreciated as a matter within the public interest and the comment seeking to improve our democracy and the functioning of our institutions. Dr. Ayine was speaking as a Member of Parliament, Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, and not only as a Lawyer. He has a duty and responsibility as a Member of Parliament and a Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament to speak to the public on matters of public interest as he did at the forum of the Presidential Election Petition and their impact on African’s democracy,” the statement said.
It also accused the Chief Justice of targeting lawyers associated with the NDC.
“We note with regret that the Chief Justice is on record in recent times to have demonstrated his intolerance for dissenting views, particularly those emanating from Minority Members of Parliament. Not long ago, the Hon. Rockson-Nelson K. Etse Dafeamekpor, the NDC Member of Parliament for South Dayi, received a similar invitation to appear before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council.
We are also aware of invitations to other members of the National Democratic Congress in the very recent past for statements which allegedly criticized some decisions of the Supreme Court”.
The Executive Director for the CDD Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh has also criticized the petition against the NDC lawmaker describing it as an attack on free speech.