Chief Justice Appoints Registration Review Officers
The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, has appointed supervising high court judges in the 10 regions as chief registration review officers.
The directive is in the exercise of the powers conferred on her by Section 19 of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2012 C.I. 72.
According to a statement signed by Mrs Grace Tagoe, the Director of the Communications of the Judicial Service, as chief registration review officers, their main function was to determine appeals against the decisions of the district registration review committees made in respect of claims, objections and challenges that might arise during the nationwide biometric voters registration exercise.
The C.I. 72, which was publicly gazetted on February 21, 2012, replaced The Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 1995, which has since been revoked.
Section 17 of C.I. 72 provided for the establishment of a District Registration Review Committee which shall examine challenges related to the registration of voters in the district.
The functions of the committee, which are spelt out in Section 18, mandates the committee upon receipt of a completed voter registration form of a challenged applicant and the completed voter registration challenge form, to among other things, take evidence from the concerned parties, examine relevant documents, call witnesses to testify and carry out any investigation relevant to the issue.
The committee shall for the purpose of taking evidence and calling witnesses, have the same powers as a District Court.
Under Section 21 of C.I. 72, the Electoral Commission is to compile a provisional register for each polling station not later than three months after the completion of the registration process. Under Section 22, the Commission is to display the provisional register for public exhibition at the registration centre.
Section 24 of C.I. 72, provides for claims and objections to be made after the publication of the provisional register of voters. Under Section 25 (1), a district officer of the Commission upon receipt of claims and objections from the exhibition officer, must submit them to the District Registration Review Officer for determination.
For this purpose, the District Court Magistrate shall be the District Registration Review Officer per Section 25 (3).
Section 25 (4) provides that in the event that a District Court does not exist in the district or the chairperson of the District Court is absent, a Judge of the High Court, who is appointed the Chief Registration Review Officer of the region, shall appoint a lawyer of not less than three years standing and who is preferably resident in the district to be the District Review Officer. The Chief Registration Review Officer is to report these appointments to the Chief Justice.
Under Section 25 (8), a person aggrieved by the decision of the District Registration Review Officer may appeal to the High Court.
The statement said all supervising high court judges and magistrates had been furnished with copies of C.I. 72 to apprise themselves of its contents.
Additionally, the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) will soon commence training for the appointed judges and magistrates to enable them to effectively discharge their functions under C.I. 72.