The Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court has struck out an interlocutory injunction against the ongoing re-registration of the SIM Cards.This was after the applicant in the matter, Francis Kwarteng Arthur, through his lawyers led by Dr Justice Srem Sai withdrew the application.The applicant who is a private legal practitioner on November 22, sued the National Communications Authority and the owners of telecommunication services in the country over the re-registration of SIM cards.
The applicant was praying the High Court to stop the collection of personal data of subscribers for the re-registration exercise.
Aside from the originating motion seeking for enforcement of his fundamental human rights to administrative justice, to speech, to information and to privacy, the applicant also filed an interlocutory injunction to halt the process until the final determination of the case.
In court on Thursday, December 9, 2021, Justice Srem Sai withdrew the application for an interlocutory injunction after the court had said it could not stop the ongoing re-registration before the injunction was heard.
Lawyer Gary Nimako Marfo, a lawyer for the NCA had told the court that, they have filed their affidavit in opposition to the application for interlocutory injunction and followed that up with their statement of case.
It was when counsel prayed the court for the case to be adjourned to enable the NCA serve the applicant with its processes that, concerns came up.
While the parties wanted the injunction heard on December 15, the court said they should pick a date in January.
At this point, counsel for the applicant raised concerns to the court regarding the conduct of the Respondents.
Counsel said, though the matter is in court, the re-registration exercise is still going on and sought order from the court to halt the exercise pending the determination of the injunction.
Over 30M Ghanaians interest
Responding to the prayer of the counsel for the applicant, Gary Nimako Marfo counsel for the NCA said, the over-riding interest of over 30 million Ghanaians should not be sacrificed for the applicant.
According to counsel, per the ongoing exercise, the government is working with timeliness, adding that, state institutions should not be stopped in the manner counsel for the applicant was requesting from the court.
The court presided over by Justice Barbara N. Tetteh-Charway said, this kind of application to restrain the government before the application is taken, cannot be exercised by the court.
The court said, the interest of the general public must also be taken into consideration as against the harm the applicant stands to suffer.
The court said it cannot make that order before the injunction was taken.
To this end, counsel for the applicant withdrew the application for interlocutory injunction and same was struck out as withdrawn.
EIB Network’s Court Correspondent Murtala Inusah reports that, the parties have been directed to file their processes as per the court rules for the hearing of the substantive matter.
The NCA (1st Respondent) was sued together with Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited (2nd Respondent), Stancom PLC (3rd Respondent), AIRTELTIGO Ghana Limited (4th Respondent) while the Attorney General was put on notice.
The applicant as per his case filed on Monday, November 22, 2021 is asking the court to “make an order directing at the 1st Respondent/Respondent to suspend its notice to Mobile network operators directing, instructing or requesting them to procure, store or use the Applicant’s personal information (including the fingerprint of other subscribers), pending the determination of the issues in the originating motion on notice.
The applicant is also seeking the court to “make an order of mandatory injunction firecrest at the 2nd Respondent/Respondent, the 3rd Respondent/Respondent, the 4th Respondent/Respondent to suspend the collection, storage or use of the Applicant’s personal information including his fingerprint, iris or facial pattern record or other biometric data or particulars qnd of other subscribers, pending the determination of the issues on the originating motion on notice.
“Any order that thehoniurable court may deem fit under the circumstances for the protection of the fundamental human rights and freedom of the public at large.”