An interlocutory injunction against the ongoing re-registration of SIM cards has been dismissed by the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court.
This came when the applicant, Francis Kwarteng Arthur, a Private Legal Practitioner, dropped the application through his lawyers, represented by Dr Justice Srem Sai.
Mr Arthur sued the National Communication Authority and telecommunications service providers on November 22, 2021, over the re-registration of SIM cards.
The applicant asked the High Court to halt the collection of subscribers’ personal information for the re-registration process.
Aside from the originating motion, which sought to have his fundamental human rights to administrative justice, expression, information, and privacy enforced, the applicant also filed an interlocutory injunction to freeze the proceedings until the case was resolved.
Dr. Sai withdrew his motion for an interlocutory injunction when the matter was called on Thursday, December 9, 2021, after the Court ruled it couldn’t stop the ongoing re-registration before the injunction was heard.
Mr Gary Nimako Marfo, a lawyer for the NCA, told the Court that they had filed an affidavit in response to the interlocutory injunction application, as well as a statement of case.
It was then that counsel asked the Court to defer the matter so that the NCA could serve the applicant with its processes.
The parties had requested that the injunction be heard on December 15, but the judge suggested that they choose a day in January.
In response to the applicant’s counsel’s petition, Mr Marfo stated that the overarching interests of over 30 million Ghanaians should not be sacrificed for the applicant.
He stated that, as part of the continuing process, the government was working on a timely basis and that State Institutions should not be halted in the way requested by Counsel for the petitioner from the Court.
The Court, presided over by Justice Barbara N. Tetteh-Charway, stated that this type of motion to enjoin the government from acting before the application is filed could not be used by the Court.
” The interest of the public must also be taken into consideration as against the harm the petitioner stands to incur, consequently the Court cannot make such an order before the injunction is taken,” she stated.
This prompted the applicant, through his counsel, to withdraw the application, which was therefore stricken out.
In the meanwhile, the parties have been told to submit their proceedings so that the substantive subject can be heard.
Mr Arthur filed a lawsuit against NCA (1st Respondent), Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited (2nd Respondent), SCANCOM PLC (3rd Respondent), and AIRTELTIGO Ghana Limited (4th Respondent), as well as the Attorney General.
The applicant is asking the Court to “make an order directing 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 fingerprints of other subscribers) pending the determination of the issues in the originating motion on notice,” according to his case filed on Monday, November 22, 2021.
The applicant also wants the court to “make an order of mandatory injunction firecrest at the 2nd Respondent/Respondent, the 3rd Respondent/Respondent, and 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, and of other subscribers, pending the determination of the issues on the originating motion on notice.”
“Any ruling that the honourable court may find appropriate in the circumstances for the protection of fundamental human rights and public freedom.”