Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin ,on Wednesday outlined the legal framework for actions to be taken after a bill has been passed by Parliament.

He said Article 106(7) of the Constitution provides: “Where a bill passed by Parliament is presented to the President for assent he shall signify, within seven days after the presentation to the Speaker, that he assents to the bill or that he refuses to assent to the bill, unless the bill has been referred by the President to the Council of State under Article 90 of this Constitution”.

That was in a formal communication to the House in response to a letter signed by Nana Asante Bediatuo, the Executive Secretary to the President, addressed to the Clerk to Parliament.

Speaker Bagbin noted that on 19 March, his attention was drawn to the letter, which was clearly, in his opinion, contemptuous of Parliament.

“The said letter outlined that the Clerk ought to cease and desist from attempting to transmit the Human Sexual Values Bill, 2021 to the President for the necessary action in accordance with the Constitution,” he said.

The Executive Secretary indicated that the Office of the President was aware of two pending applications for an order of interlocutory injunction seeking to restrain the Clerk and Parliament from transmitting the Bill to the President.

With regard to the legal framework to follow after passage of a Bill, Speaker Bagbin said Section 5 of the Interpretation Act, 2009 (Act 792) provides:”(3) As soon as a Bill is passed by Parliament, the text of the Bill as passed shall be sent by the Clerk of Parliament to the Government Printer.”

“…who shall print four copies of the Bill on vellum paper or on paper of enduring quality and send the copies to the Clerk.”

“(4) On receiving the copies, the Clerk shall carefully compare them with the text of the Bill as passed and if the Clerk finds the copies to be correct, shall sign on each copy a statement in the form set out in the First Schedule, and shall send the copies so authenticated to the President for the assent.”

“(5) Where the Bill was passed in accordance with the relevant provisions of Article 108 of the Constitution, the Clerk shall, before causing the copies to be presented to the President, submit them to the Speaker, who, if satisfied that the Bill was passed in accordance with the Constitution, shall sign on each copy a certificate in the Form set out in the First Schedule.”

“(6) After the assent, the Clerk shall enter on the copies the appropriate number of the Act.”

The Speaker noted that the combined effect of those provisions ensured a bill underwent a meticulous process designed to ensure its conformity with the nation’s legal and constitutional standards before it could become law.

The final and perhaps most critical phase of the process involved the presentation of the Bill to the President for assent.

He said pursuant to Article 106(7) of the Constitution, the President had a seven-day period to either assent to the bill, signifying its enactment into law, or refuse to assent, which might involve referring the Bill to the Council of State for further advice.

Upon the President’s assent, the Clerk of Parliament assigns an official Act number to the Bill, formally marking its transition into law, Speaker Babgin said.

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