SRC/NUGS ELECTION PETITION: JUDICIAL BOARD NULLIFY VETTING PROCESS, ORDERS E.C TO DO FRESH ISSUANCE OF NOMINATION FORMS

In a unanimous decision, the judicial board of SRC, UDS, Wa Campus has ruled to nullify the ongoing vetting process. The JB in its further ruling ordered that the Electoral Commission issue new forms to aspirants to start the whole nomination process.
It based on the premise that the copies of the constitution given out to aspirants was not the original copy of the SRC constitution.

The plaintiff, Andy Zutah who appeared as a litigant-in-person filed the suit on the claim :

STATEMENT OF CLAIMS

1. The SRC constitution states the QUALIFICATION of student for election to any executive office.

2. Article 24 clause 1 (b) of the SRC constitution has an ambiguous interpretation.

The plaintiff demanded for the following relieves;

1. WHEREFORE, the plaintiff demands judgement against the defendant  (E. C) for proper interpretation of article 24 clause 1b of the SRC constitution.

2. Annulment of the whole vetting process.

           FULL JUDGEMENT

SIAW ASANTE JJB

1.  Interpretation of Article 24 clause 1b.

The disqualification rule in article 24 (1b) is disjunctive; that is, it’s either/or, not both. So, if a student trail in more than 1 course, he is disqualified. Alternatively, if he don’t trail in more than one course but his GPA is below 2.5 he or she is also disqualified. So, as long as a student fits into either one of these conditions, he or she is disqualified.

2. Annulment of the Vetting process

Due to wrong SRC constitution given to aspirants by the EC, the board has ruled to annul the whole election process starting from sales of forms to the vetting process. The EC shall start the election process again and any student who fall a victim of the original SRC constitution, his/her money must be refund to him/her.

HORTOR EWOENAM DESMOND JJB

“AND” in its lateral meaning denotes that the outcome has to satisfy both conditions at the same time. Or on the other hand  means that the outcome has to satisfy one condition, or the other condition, or both at the same time.
“And” and “or”. Many judges find it difficult to interpret this especially when it has to do with contract law.
While commentators on legal drafting suggest that every or has the potential to be either inclusive or exclusive and generally conveys the exclusive meaning. CGEL States that or is typically used when the drafter wants to convey that only one of the prepositions is correct- in effect, wants the or to be exclusive.
The approach offered in the literature on legal drafting can lead one astray. For example, one authority offers as an example of the ambiguous or the phrase ” a $500 fine or ten days in jail ” and asks: “Does this mean that the judge can impose the fine or the term in jail, but not both? Or can the judge impose both?
According to CGEL, the normal interpretation would be that the legislature intended to convey that only one of the prepositions_ the fine or the jail term- was correct, and there is no basis for suggesting that this language conveys the meaning or both the fine or both. To be able to impose both the fine and the jail term, one would need to add or both at the end of the phrase. See CGEL, supra note 16,2.2.1 at 1294 as cited by Adams & Kaye, 2007.
Another commentator with an expansive view of the inclusive or is Bryan Garner who recently offered the following analysis of the ambiguous or ” If you are offered coffee or tea, you may pick either . Or in this case, neither or you may for whatever reason order both. This is the ordinary sense of the word, understood by everyone and invariably accommodated by the simple or”. See GARNER supra note 1 at 624. as cited by Adams &Kaye 2007, Revisiting the ambiguity of “And” and “Or” in legal drafting.

In the case of Article 24 (1b) which states that “A student shall not be qualified for election to any Executive Office if;
He trails in more than 1 course and/or has Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of less
than 2.5”, the or gives two categories. Which is less than CGPA of 2.5 and more than one trail. The “OR” in that clause betoken that if one has a CGPA of less than 2.5, untrailed courses will be out of the equation. Also, if one has more than a trail course, the CGPA will not be considered.

The “AND” also signify an addition of both. That is, one cannot go without the other. One must satisfy both requirements before he is deemed quality. If one fails to satisfy the other, automatically he is deemed not qualify.

Furthermore, in the General and Examination Rules And Regulations on First Degree and Diploma Programmes (Revised 2014) of the University for Development Studies for Junior Members Under WITHDRAWAL OF STUDENTS, it states that *”a student who fails more than five papers in the Trimester or has a CGPA of less than 1.5 shall be withdrawn from the Programme/Faculty/School (WP) without prejudice to being admitted to another programme”.* In this instance, when a student has say about a CGPA of 3.76 with more than 5 trails, such student will automatically be withdrawn. Meaning, it is the more than 5 trails which is under consideration and not the the CGPA. Also, if a student has no trail but has a CGPA of less than 1.5, same withdrawals will be applicable without a look at the number of no trails. Juxtaposing this with Article 24 (1b), it automatically disqualifies a student having a CGPA of less than 2.5 or a trail more than one. Because, “or” in the context of Article 24 (1b) is mutually exclusive and not independent of the other.
Another factor to consider is the intention of the drafters of the constitution. Thus, what the drafters seek to achieve with Article 24(1)b. It is clear that they want any student who wish to lead at the student front be a person academically sound and a model to his/her followers.
My ruling therefore are as follows;
a. That any candidate who trails in more than one (1) course is not qualified to contest any election as an executive officer for SRC/NUGS.
b. That any candidate who has a cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of less than 2.5 is not qualified to contest any election as an executive officer for SRC/NUGS.
c. That the vetting conducted by the vetting committee is null and void.
d. That the Electoral Commission restart the whole process from the sale of forms.
e. That the Electoral Commission gets the original copy of the SRC constitution from the Judicial Board.

Nkrumah Meschack JJB

The complicated aspect of the article 24 clause1b is the *and* & *or*.
After taking ample time to ponder about it and consultation from a friend lawyer, the *or* makes it clear and obvious that an aspirant doesn’t necessarily need to fall victim under both requirements before he or she can be disqualified.

1. GPA *2.5* and above plus *two* trails cannot contest or aspire for any portfolio under the aforementioned clause.

2. With *one* or without trail plus GPA less than *2.5* cannot also contest or aspire for any portfolio under this clause.

Moreover, the already conducted vetting must be done again.

Opoku k Antwi JJB

In this noble institution, we have a constitution that govern the SRC,I cannot change the constitution. With much respect to our constitution Article 24 clause 1b.
*Any student having one or more trails and,or GPA less than 2.5 cannot contest for any position in the SRC.
Base on this all aspirants having this problems must be disqualified.

IBRAHIM SALIM JJB

the issue to be determine is Aritcle 24(b) of the SRC constitution which states that: a student shall not be qualified for elections into an executive office if the student trail in more than one course and/or have a GPA of less than 2.5.
The interpretation to this clause is that, if a student failed in either of the two and not all means that he/she is disqualified. In other words, if all are absent or one then the student is disqualified.
I again authorize judgement that  the on going vetting process must be stopped and a new process be start afresh taking into consideration all sanctions mentioned in the constitution.

To conclude with,  the judicial board chairperson cited article 36 (3) to seal the ruling. The clause states “without prejudice to any provision of this constitution, the decisions of the board on matters of interpretations of this constitution shall be final and conclusive”

SOURCE:
Contents of JB process from:
Sheme Kpieta

2 Responses to SRC/NUGS ELECTION PETITION: JUDICIAL BOARD NULLIFY VETTING PROCESS, ORDERS E.C TO DO FRESH ISSUANCE OF NOMINATION FORMS

  1. Reindolf Amankwa says:

    I believe in the law and its provisions. His Lordships have dealt with the provisions as insightful as I expected. His Lordship Desmond Hortor has been well on point. I believe all what he outlined citing various legal sources was succinct to the issue. Therefore, his judgement as well as that of the others are worth applauding.

    (Reindolf Amankwa)

  2. ATUGUBA says:

    we live in a country that is governed by the rule of law, and that rule of law must not be practised only at the national level. Our ability to protect our local constitution is simply an assurance of a better future that will be governed by people who are law abiding. The credit goes to the current judicial board for interpreting the constitution accordingly and by refusing any external influences to thwart their stand on the provision of article 24 (b) of the constitution. We hope this serve as an example to the incoming administration. The constitutions stands tall and we support you to protect it.

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