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HomeNewsMedia Personality files suit at Supreme Court seeking to declare “Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill”...

Media Personality files suit at Supreme Court seeking to declare “Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill” unconstitutional

Media personality and Private Lawyer Practitioner, Richard Sky, has filed a suit at the Supreme Court essentially to challenge the constitutionality of “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill” (Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill) passed by the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic on Wednesday, 28 February 2024.

The applicant (Richard Sky) in his twenty-three-paragraph affidavit in support of the application argued that “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill,” as passed by Parliament, contravenes Articles 12, 15, 17, 18, 21, 33(5), 106, and 108 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.

Contention of applicant

Mr Sky further contends that Parliament exceeded its authority in passing the said bill, and to that end, the action of Parliament is null, void, and of no effect. An assent to the Bill by the President Mr Richard Sky says will directly contravene the Constitutional safeguards which have been provided for the liberties and rights of Ghanaians.

“It is also my case that during the voting session to pass the Bill, “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024,” the number of Parliament members present significantly failed to meet the constitutionally stipulated quorum contained in Article 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution, which mandates that at least half of all members must be present.

“Although Parliament’s legislative authority is subject to the Constitution, a material part of which is Fundamental Human Rights contained in Chapter Five of the Constitution. The” Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024,” grossly violates relevant provisions in Chapter 5 of the Constitution which I have outlined,” Richard Sky deposed in his affidavit.

“In this circumstance, it is my prayer that this Honourable Court restrains the Speaker and the Clerk to Parliament from presenting to the President for his assent the Bill “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024,” Mr Sky further stated in his affidavit in support of the application.

On the issue of whether or not the President should assent to the Bill, the applicant argued that should the President go ahead and sign the Bill into law, the action “will undermine the rule of law, the Constitution and the power of Judiciary in discharging its sacred duty of determining disputes and holding evenly the scales of justice between all persons in Ghana and institutions of state subject to the Constitution once the Court’s jurisdiction is properly invoked.”

Reliefs sought

The suit filed on Monday, 4 March 2024 at the registry of the Supreme Court and entitled “Richard Sky and the Attorney General,” is seeking five reliefs from the highest court of the land.

First, he is seeking “an order that “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024” passed by Parliament on 28th February 2024 is in contravention of Articles 12, 15, 17, 18, 21, 33(5), 106, and 108 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and should be declared by this Honourable Court as null, void and of no effect.

Secondly, Sky wants “a declaration that Parliament exceeded its authority in passing “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024” as the same imposes a charge upon the public purse.

Thirdly, he is praying the court for “a declaration that, upon a true and proper interpretation of Articles 102 and 104 of the Constitution, Parliament lacked the requite quorum to pass “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024”.

Fourthly, the application is asking for “an order restraining the President from assenting to “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024″ as such action will directly contravene the Constitutional safeguards of liberties and rights of Ghanaians.

Lastly, he is praying the court for “an injunction barring any attempts to enforce the provisions of “The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024,” particularly those criminalizing same-sex relationships and related advocacy efforts.”

No human rights slip

In a separate development, President Akufo-Addo has assured the diplomatic community in Ghana that despite the passage of the “Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill” (Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill) by the nation’s Parliament on Wednesday, 28 February 2024, the country will not slip from her enviable and longstanding record as a country that respects the fundamental human rights of all persons within her territory.

Addressing the diplomatic corps in Ghana at the annual “New Year Greeting” held at the Peduase Presidential Lodge, Aburi Hills on Monday, 4 March 2024, President Akufo-Addo said he is aware of the difficulties some of the country’s international partners have with the Bill as has been passed by Parliament.

President Akufo-Addo indicated a concerned citizen has invoked the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Bill and to that end, he calls on everyone to hold their guns until the apex of the land (Supreme Court) pronounces its judgment on the constitutionality or otherwise of the Bill.

“I am aware that last week’s bi-partisan passage by the Parliament of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, on a Private Member’s motion, has raised considerable anxieties in certain quarters of the diplomatic community and amongst some friends of Ghana that she may be turning her back on her, hitherto, enviable, longstanding record on human rights observance and attachment to the rule of law.

“I want to assure you that no such back-sliding will be contemplated or occasioned. I think it will serve little purpose to go, at this stage, into the details of the origin of this proposed law, which is yet to reach my desk. But, suffice it to say, that I have learned that, today, a challenge has been mounted at the Supreme Court by a concerned citizen to the constitutionality of the proposed legislation,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“In the circumstances, it would be, as well, for all of us to hold our hands, and await the decision of the Court before any action is taken. The operation of the institutions of the Ghanaian state will determine the future trajectory of the rule of law and human rights compliance in our country,” President Akufo-Addo further stated in his remarks to members of the diplomatic community.