The House of Representatives has begun roll call again, after suspending it and allowing members present at the June 2 Session of the House of Representatives to constitute a quorum for one month, June 2 to July 2, 2016.
Yesterday’s roll call was in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling of Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie, which mandated the House’s Plenary to return to the ‘status quo ante’ in conformity with Article 33 of the 1986 Constitution.
The Article states: “Simple majority of each House shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a lower number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members. Whenever the House of Representatives and the Senate shall meet in joint session, the presiding officer of the House of Representatives shall preside.”
The Court ruling was due to a lawsuit filed by Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, praying the Court to intervene in what he termed as “undemocratic and illegal” decision which violates the House’s Rules and Procedures and the Constitution.
The House leadership made the decision to return to the “roll call” owing to a Stay Order on the House Sessions and Budget Hearings on the Revenue Component of the Fiscal Year 2016/2017 Draft National Budget on Tuesday.
According to the Writ of Prohibition, the Supreme Court, in its March Term, A.D. 2016, mandated the House of Representatives to return to the status quo, before the motion of June 2, 2016 that suspended roll calls.
“You are further commanded to instruct the Respondents (Speaker Tyler and Ministry of Justice) to do their return to this Writ in the office of the Clerk of this Honorable Court on or before the 30th day of June, A.D. 2016; and to read them the original and leave a copy of the Writ of Prohibition with the Respondents each. As to when and how you shall have served this Writ, you will make known by filing your returns officially thereto on the back of the original Writ in the office of the Clerk of this Honorable Court on or before the said 30th Day of June, A.D. 2016,” the court said.
It may be recalled that last Tuesday’s session was adjourned following an announcement by the Chairman on the House’s Executive Committee, Grand Kru Representative George Wesseh Blamoh, who served as the presiding officer.
“We received two communications (writs) from the Supreme Court and the Speaker has gone there to get clarity, so today there’s no session,” Presiding Officer Blamoh said.
This is the second time in two weeks the Supreme Court put a stay order on the House of Representatives.
On Friday, June 10, 2016, a stay order was granted by the Supreme Court, and on Monday, June 13, it was lifted and both parties, the petitioner, Rep. Edwin Snowe and the respondent, Speaker J. Alex Tyler were mandated to make amendment, but the petitioner was instructed to seek redress if dissatisfied with the resolution.