The Minority in Parliament has chided the Chief Justice over his referring former Attorney General, Dr. Dominic Ayine to the General Legal Council.
In a press briefing held at the Parliament of Ghana, the Minority Leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu noted that the petition by the Chief Justice is a “disproportionate interference with his [Dr. Ayine] rights to freedom of expression and therefore not necessary for our democracy.”
The Minority Leader observed that Dr. Ayine’s comments were on a matter that was no longer pending in court but arose out of the judgment of the Supreme Court.
“And so I emphasize, this is post-judgment commentary, and therefore when the Supreme Court rules, are we not allowed to critique the judgment? Are we not allowed to discuss the judgment? Are we not allowed to analyze the judgment?” Hon. Haruna Iddrisu quizzed.
He further noted that Dr. Ayine’s comments were made as part of his “contribution to deepening democracy, rule of law and enhancing the frontiers of jurisprudence, rather than an attack on the Judiciary.
Dr. Ayine had questioned the independence of the Judiciary during the 2020 Election petition at a panel discussion organized by the civil society group, CDD-Ghana. His comments had however displeased the Chief Justice who in a letter dated 25th May, 2021 indicated that he was referring the matter to the General Legal Council for investigation.
The move has however sparked various reactions, with legal practitioner Francisca Serwaa Boateng raising questions on whether the Chief Justice intends the high office to be above critique. Read her thoughts here.
Hon. Haruna Idrissu has also suggested that other notable persons have in the past criticized the Judiciary in rather strong terms without being subjected to any such disciplinary queries. He noted that attacks on free speech could cripple the very tenets of Ghana’s democracy.
It is presently unclear what reactions would result from the press briefing held by the Minority. Dennislaw News would continue to monitor the situation.