Stop practice of placing name of Chief Justice on writs issued in Ghana – private citizen prays Supreme Court

Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah

A Private citizen has filed a suit at the Supreme Court to stop the practice of placing the Chief Justice's name on all writs issued in Ghana

A private citizen resident in Kumasi, James Marshall Belieb, has filed a suit at the Supreme Court invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme to declare as unconstitutional the practice of putting the description, "CHIEF JUSTICE" followed by name of the sitting Chief Justice (CJ) on every writ of summons that is issued in Ghana.

It is the contention of the plaintiff (James Marshall Belieb) that both the letter and spirit of the 1992 constitution of Ghana are breached by the continuing practice.

Contention of Plaintiff

According to the plaintiff, the practice of having the CJ's name on all writs "undermines the sovereignty of the people of Ghana by appearing/seeming to suggest, imply and indicate that sovereignty and justice emanates from the holder of the office of Chief Justice rather than the people of Ghana as clearly indicated in the 1992 Constitution".

"By reason of this practice which is inimical to the 1992 Constitution of Ghana the office of the Chief Justice is elevated above the Constitution and that office has become the personification of the People from whom sovereignty, power and justice emanates" the Plaintiff said in statement of case.

"The said requirement gives a deceptive garb of supremacy to the office of Chief Justice which manifest itself in several ways undermining the independence of judges and the conditions under which they serve and the tendency to effect arbitrary transfers without regard to the constitutional duty to be fair and candid as required by Article 296 of the 1992 Constitution" James Marshall Belieb, further claimed.

Declarative Reliefs

To this end, the Plaintiff is seeking three (3) declarative reliefs from the Supreme on the action he has instituted in Court through his lawyer Kwesi Afrifa.

First, "a declaration that the practice whereby the description "CHIEF JUSTICE" followed by the name of the occupant of the office of Chief Justice which appears on every writ of summons issued in Ghana is wrongful, unlawful, unconstitutional, inconsistent with and in contravention of the Preamble, Article 1 and Article 125 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and ought to cease forthwith".

Second, "a declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of the Preamble, Article 1, Article 2(1) and Article 125 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana Justice emanates from the people of Ghana and therefore the indication given on writs of summons issued in Ghana that it is the Chief Justice from whom Justice emanates is a continuing constitutional aberration which ought to be halted for its inherently unconstitutional nature and for its gross violation of the letter and spirit of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana".

Lastly, "a declaration that Order 2 Rule 3 (1) of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2004 (CI 47) requiring every writ to conform to Form 1 of the Schedule to CI 47 is wrongful, unlawful, unconstitutional, inconsistent with and in contravention of Article 1 and Article 125 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana".

Source: Asaase Radio 99.5