Election to choose student representatives for the GIMPA Law Students Association (GIMPA LSA) is underway despite an ongoing power play between two judicial committees at the institute.
The GIMPA Students Representative Council (SRC) Judicial Committee had earlier placed an injunction on the election because a case had been brought before it by Johnson Oduro Ofori an aggrieved disqualified General Secretary aspirant.
However, in a sharp rebuttal, the LSA Judicial Committee released a statement claiming the GIMPA SRC Judicial Committee did not have the jurisdiction to review its decisions and also place injunction on LSA elections.
The statement, that was signed by the LSA Chief Justice, Awalime Kwaku Richard stated that “the members of the LSA’s Judicial Committee are therefore not subject to the jurisdiction of the SRC’s judicial processes and as such cannot be made to appear before that committee” and that “the judicial committee of the SRC cannot, and should not arrogate non-existent powers onto itself.”
The Chief Justice urged all “students of the LSA including the Electoral Commissioner and the Vetting Committee to disregard a notice which, purportedly, originated from GIMPA SRC Judicial Committee with a mistaken attempt to place an injunction on the LSA’s elections.”
“We also wish to state that whereas the LSA’s Judicial Committee are subject to the rules of GIMPA as a whole, the SRC’s general rules cannot override the specific laws of the LSA,” Awalime Kwaku Richard said.
Read the full statement below
LSA’S JUDICIAL COMMITTEE NOTICE
RE: INTERIM INJUNCTION ON THE LSA ELECTION
The Judicial Committee of the LSA per this communication advise all students of the LSA including the Electoral Commissioner and the Vetting Committee to disregard a notice which, purportedly, originated from GIMPA SRC Judicial Committee with a mistaken attempt to place an injunction on the LSA’s elections scheduled for tomorrow, 26th of April, 2017.
The said notice purports to make the SRC’s judicial Committee an appellate body over the LSA’s Judicial Committee and the judicial processes thereof. We wish to state for the avoidance of doubt that the LSA’s Judicial Committee and the members of the Committee are not, in anyway, subject to the jurisdiction of the SRC’s adjudicatory processes. As a result of the preceding, the judicial committee of the SRC cannot, and should not arrogate non-existent powers onto itself.
The Judicial Committee of the LSA derives its Judicial Authority from the LSA Constitution, the relevant parts of which Constitution are reproduced below;
ARTICLE 7 THE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE
(1) The Judicial Power of the Association resides in the Judicial Committee and shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this constitution and accordingly neither president nor Congress nor any other office under the Association shall have or be given final judicial power.
(2) There shall be a three member judicial committee selected from each stream with one of the patrons acting as advisor to the committee.
(3) The judicial committee shall in performance of its function be subject to this constitution, the rules and regulations of this institution and the Constitution of Ghana and shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority.
(4) Neither the president nor the Congress Council nor any person acting under the authority of the President or Congress Council nor any other person shall interfere with Judicial Council officers or other persons exercising judicial power, in the exercise of judicial functions and all students shall accord to the Judicial committee such assistance as the judicial committee may reasonably require to protect the independence, dignity and effectiveness of the Judicial Committee.
(5) A Judicial Committee member or any person exercising judicial power shall not be liable to any action or suit for any act or omission by him in the exercise of the judicial power
(6) The Judicial Committee shall be the final committee of appeal and shall have such appellate and other jurisdiction as may be conferred on it by this Constitution.
The LSA’s Judicial Committee has adjudicated on a number of cases that came before it. There is currently an application pending before us for a review of our decision in the case of Johnson Oduro Ofori v The Electoral Commission and the Vetting Committee. Though we have been faced with some challenges constituting a panel for the review application, we are resolved to hearing and determining that application before the elections tomorrow, 26th April, 2017.
We also wish to state that whereas the LSA’s Judicial Committee are subject to the rules of GIMPA as a whole, the SRC’s general rules cannot override the specific laws of the LSA as a result of the principle of Generalia Specialibus Non Derogant.
The members of the LSA’s Judicial Committee are therefore not subject to the jurisdiction of the SRC’s judicial processes and as such cannot be made to appear before that committee. The LSA and the SRC may cooperate in various regards but the SRC cannot interfere with the judicial processes of the LSA. Whenever the LSA deems it necessary to open its judicial processes to the SRC, both Constitutions may be amended to accommodate each other, but that is not the case for the time being.
The SRC’s hands are therefore stayed entirely from LSA’s Judicial processes.
Awalime Kwaku Richard.
-CHIEF JUSTICE: LSA.