Supreme Court okays #FixTheCountry demonstration
A five-member Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Yaw Appaw has quashed a High Court ruling dated 6 May 2021 that essentially restrained organisers of the #FixTheCountry from protesting.
The #FixTheCountry protest was scheduled to take place on Sunday 9 May 2021 but could not take place because of the court order.
The police in an ex-parte application at the High Court secured the restraining order against organisers of the #FixTheCountry demonstration just days to the scheduled demonstration date.
Displeased with the court order, conveners of the #FixTheCountry protest filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking to quash the High Court ruling. Their application was praying for two orders.
First, “an order of certiorari directed to the High Court (Criminal Division 1) Accra, to bring up to this honourable Court for the purposes of being quashed and the quashing of the order of the said High Court dated May 6, 2021 given by and under the hand of Her Ladyship, the Judge, Justice Ruby Aryeetey (MS), restraining the conveners of the “Fix-the-Country” public demonstration and Applicants herein, indefinitely, to embark on a public demonstration.”
Secondly, “an order restraining the Ghana Police Service, the 2nd Interested Party or their agents, assigns, workmen or workwomen, howsoever described or styled, from unlawfully interfering with the constitutional right of the conveners of the “Fix-the-Country” public demonstration and Applicants herein to embark on a public demonstration.”
The Supreme Court in its ruling on 8 June 2021, granted the first order indicating that since the police obtained the restraining order in an ex-parte application, it should have been for a period of 10 days, following which, the State or Police must go back to the High Court on notice with a new application.
To the extend that the High Court did not observe this rule, it exceeded its jurisdiction. “The order of the High Court is thus quashed,” the Supreme Court held.
The Supreme Court, however, did not grant the second order. The court explained that there is no evidence that the police have or intend to unlawfully interfere with the constitutional right of the conveners to go on demonstration.