BY: Mary Quartey
Speaker of Parliament, S.K. Alban Bagbin on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 before the commencement of Public Business at Parliament, cautioned Members of the house that their immunity as contained in Articles 117 and 118 of the Constitution are not absolute.
According to him, the Constitution allows the courts to serve court processes on MPs who are not attending to the business of the House. In a formal communication to MPs the Rt. Hon Speaker disclosed that it has come to his attention that some MPs during recess, when they were not engaged in the business of the House, evaded attempts by court officials to serve processes on them.
He cautioned that that should not be the case and called for mutual respect between the legislature and the judiciary. He also expressed concerns about occasions where court processes have been served on some MPs when they were engaged in the business of Parliament without recourse to the Speaker which should not be the case. He however went on to lay out guidelines which he stressed was developed in collaboration with the Judiciary to guide how parliamentarians can be brought before courts.
Meanwhile, MPs are to direct service of court processes to the Speaker should they be served whiles the House is on recess.
Where a member accepts service of a process and has entered appearance, the member is said to have become a party and will thus not be covered by immunities provided under the constitution.