An acting Speaker has neither original nor casting vote- Prof. Abotsi

In the past week, there has been a raging debate on the legality of the action by the first Deputy Speaker and whether he had a right to vote while presiding.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

Dean of the UPSA Law School, Prof Kofi Abotsi has indicated that a Deputy or acting speaker loses his original or casting vote once he steps in to act in the position of Speaker of Parliament.

He further indicated that once a Deputy Speaker acts as a speaker, he assumed the powers of a speaker as well as his liabilities per regular Administrative Law.

“When a deputy speaker assumes the office or seat of a Speaker, that person will ordinarily suffer all the liabilities or disabilities of speakers and will have all the rights of speakers. In regular administrative law, an acting occupant has all the powers of the substantive and that person has all the liabilities of the substantive. Therefore if we should follow the pure principles of constitutional law and administrative law, an acting Speaker thus a deputy speaker who assumes the seat of the speaker has for the period of being speaker, suffers all the liabilities of a speaker and one of those liabilities is that the speaker has no vote neither casting nor original vote.”

In the past week, there has been a raging debate on the legality of the action by the first Deputy Speaker and whether he had a right to vote while presiding.

Last week, Parliament presided over by the First Deputy Speaker approved the 2022 Budget with only the Majority caucus present for deliberations.

Subsequently, the minority in a press conference addressed by its leader, Haruna Iddrisu, described the action as unconstitutional, null, and void.

Earlier, an only Minority side of the House, presided by the Speaker of Parliament had rejected the 2022 Budget which the majority and others also have been criticized and described by many political watchers and citizens as unconstitutional, leading to a private citizen, Richard Dela sky filing an action at the Supreme Court invoking its original jurisdiction on the matter.

However, speaking on the Law on JoyNews, Prof Abotsi admitted that the application of  Constitutional provision creates a constitutional problem because it undermines the representative role of the Member of Parliament who is acting like a speaker.

“If we are to apply the principle of law, it means that for that period, your people are not represented, you cannot vote neither can you participate in the debates nor take a decision,” he said.

Additionally, he noted that the framers of the Constitution should have thought through this particular arrangement and bemoaned the fact that the Supreme Court has over the years described parliament as master of his own rules noting that Parliament is conflictual of itself.

 “It is very difficult to understand why we will make this institution a master of its rules because it is a conflictual institution by nature. It is designed to debate, discuss and disagree so if you make such a body a master of itself or rules, it leads to the problem that we have and probably gets a judicial interpretation. I think this will require some reflection of a constitutional amendment,” he indicated.