The High Court in Accra has dismissed an injunction application seeking to stop the National Identification Authority from continuing with its registration in the Eastern Region.
According to the court, the NIA’s decision to go ahead with the registration is not against the President’s directive suspending all public gatherings.
The Judge, Justice Anthony Oppong explained that the directive did not stop operations of businesses but rather asked operators to observe certain protocols including social distancing.
He further added that the function of NIA as an agency of government never compromised in observing the protocols put in place.
Justice Oppong in his ruling also likened the application to a drunken giant walking on the lips of a mosquito.
The ruling was given despite an application for withdrawal of the case.
In Justice Oppong’s view, the applicants did not get leave of the court to withdraw the case.
A GHS3000 cost was however awarded against each of the applicants.
The dismissed case is however different from the one filed by the 30 individuals which the High Court has granted an injunction on.
This suggests that the NIA cannot proceed with its registration because the injunction secured by the 30 individuals against the exercise is still in force.
Kevow Mark-Oliver and Emmanuel Akumatey Okrah sued the NIA and succeeded in securing an interlocutory injunction preventing the NIA from going ahead with the exercise.
The NIA subsequently suspended the Ghana Card registration exercise in the Eastern Region due to the injunction.
The exercise was suspended “pending the final determination of the application,” the NIA noted in a statement.
Before the suspension, the NIA insisted that its decision to carry on with the Ghana Card registration exercise in the Eastern Region was not in violation of the directives concerning public gatherings.
This was despite reports indicating that citizens looking to register for the card were massing at some registration centres in contravention of expert advice for curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Observers also criticized the NIA for continuing with the exercise.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), for example, said the continuation of the registration was a breach of international and regional human rights instruments.
CHRAJ in a statement also said the NIA’s actions were a disregard of the existing World Health Organization (WHO) precautionary measures aimed at containing and combating the novel coronavirus.
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) also complained that the continuation of the exercise defeated the precautionary measures declared by the state to combat the pandemic.