About a week after placing a “stay order” on all activities of the Special Senatorial Election, the Supreme Court is expected today, Friday, to hear arguments in the case. All activities related to holding the election remain suspended at the moment.
Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, Justice presiding in Chamber of the High Court last Friday issued a “stay order” against the holding of the election. Justice Banks’ order came after several institutions and individuals including Concern Group of Eminent citizens as well as political parties asked the Court to do so.
He later referred the case to the Full Bench of the Supreme Court, saing that “a single justice can’t hear case involving constitutional matter.”
The Full Bench had decided to hear argument in the matter today, following fear over the constitutionality, if the exercise does not take place on December 16.
Some legal pundits told the Daily Observer that the Court’s Full Bench, comprising of five Justices, will be debating on whether NEC was in violation to declare December 16 for the holding of the Special Senatorial Election. Those legal minds, without preempting what the highest court’s decision would be, also said the Court would like to know whether the postponement of the election process during this Ebola crisis is constitutional or whether NEC has put into place necessary preventive measure to stop the spread and transmission of the deadly virus. “Those are some of the key issues the lawyers of both parties, including NEC will be arguing on today,” one of them said preferring to remain anonymous.
The five-judge panel of the Supreme Court has not said whether they would also rule in the matter today, immediately following the argument.
According to our Judicial Correspondent, the Full Bench takes four to five days before they can come down with their opinion or ruling into a matter.
“With less than 11 days to the holding of December 16 election, if the Full Beach choses to follow their normal ruling requirement, will it give enough time for NEC to hold a free, fair and transparent election?” one of the legal pundits asked, rhetorically. “Will the candidates have enough time to carry out their campaigning activities?”