The Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame has argued that Deputy Speakers of Parliament have the power to vote as Members of Parliament when they are presiding in the absence of the speaker.
The matter has been a contentious one after Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu voted as MP for Bekwai despite presiding over the house as a Speaker in the absence of Alban Bagbin.
Arguing in court, Godfrey Dame submitted to the Supreme Court Supreme that a deputy Speaker or any member presiding over proceedings in the House in the absence of the Speaker, is actually entitled to cast a vote, in accordance with article 104(1) of the Constitution.
He further added that such a presiding member is also entitled to be counted as part of the quorum needed to make up parliament.
According to him, a quorum is 92 members as Parliament presently is made up of 275 members, which is the one third required.
The AG was responding to a suit filed by a law lecturer at the University of Professional Studies, and a citizen of Ghana, Justice Abdulai who is invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over the controversial matter.
Dame said Mr. Abdullai’s petition suffered from a fundamental failure to distinguish between a “Speaker qua Speaker under the Constitution” and a “member of Parliament who deputizes for the Speaker” by virtue of articles 96 and 101 describing the petition as narrow, literal and absurd understanding of articles 96, 101, 102 and 104.