AS the third arm of government the role of the Judiciary in our current democratic dispensation cannot be over emphasised. It is entrusted with the sole powers of interpreting the law and also administering justice.
FURTHERMORE, through its powers of Judicial Review, the judiciary declares actions of both the legislature and the executive branches of government as unconstitutional. In effect the Judiciary acts as a check on both the executive and the legislature. This is a clear indication that no vibrant democracy can function effectively and efficiently without the Judiciary.
IN this Fourth Republic examples abound to buttress the point that the Judiciary has played and continues to play an indispensable role in our governance system. For instance, after the results of the 2012 presidential poll were disputed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the matter was finally settled by the apex court of the land—the Supreme Court. In fact the open manner in which that case was tried at the Supreme Court also gave some credence to our democracy.
IN the light of the above, it is worrying to hear that the state of majority of our court buildings across the country is nothing to write home about. The matter has reached a point where the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood, has had to lament the situation.
THE Chief Justice who was speaking at the inauguration of the refurbished Supreme Court building had this to say:
“TRUTH is that most of our court houses do not inspire much confidence as they remain in deplorable conditions. It is true that justice founded on integrity, competence and capability of those who administer justice, but the building and physical space from which justice is administered adds to the trust and confidence issues, and so we appeal to central government to make funds available for building new court houses, renovating and refurbishing court houses, and for maintenance purposes in order not to hamper the administration of justice and undermine the fundamental right of access to justice.”
THE Chief Justice is right! The truth is that the state of many of our court houses leaves much to be desired. One can even assert that there are some of them which have not seen any renovation works ever since they were built. And why should that be the case?
MORE importantly, our poor maintenance culture is also a causative factor to the deplorable state of several of our court houses. The regrettable attitude whereby we tend to neglect and run down government facilities and properties is worrying. We have seen this attitude in occupants of government houses and flats across the country.
WHILE charging all of us to change our poor maintenance culture, especially towards government facilities and properties, Today thinks the Chief Justice’s appeal to the executive to make funds available to give our courts a facelift and also build new ones across the country is so critical.
FOR instance, how would it look like when the Judiciary is not able to play its role efficiently because of the precarious nature of its court buildings and with that the lack of appropriate furnishing and the serene and conducive atmosphere required for productive work?
THEREFORE, we want to add our voice to that of the Chief Justice by making a passionate appeal to the incoming administration to look at the state of our courts. As himself a lawyer, we hope President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will address this matter head-on.