Ultra Vires: Supreme Court Refuses to Hold Elections Commission in Contempt
Monrovia – The Supreme Court of Liberia has denied the Unity Party Bill of Information filed against the National Elections Commission (NEC) to hold the Commission in contempt for failure to rule on an appeal before them.
Report by Bettie Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]
The Court in its opinion read by Associate Justice Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie said the Constitution of Liberia, Article 83C sets a time period of 30 days in which the NEC is to hear and make determination in election matters.
She says if the Supreme Court is to set a specific date as requested by the Unity Party (Informants), it would be in contravention of the Constitution and the use of power that is not conferred upon the court by the Constitution, “Such action the Court has consistently maintained is ultra virus.”
The High Court in its opinion averred that there is no reason to hold the NEC in contempt when the commission has not exceeded the time given it under the Constitution.
However, the Court reiterated its position that the NEC does not have to consume the 30 days given it under the Constitution before concluding a given election matter, and should proceed expeditiously with the investigation of the election matters pending before it recognizing the critical nature of election cases and their implications on the governance of the nation.