The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) says it is unacceptable for the Executive to consistently select its preferred judges to either sit on or chair committees of enquiry set up to handle matters of public interest.
The bar said the practice seriously undermined the independence of the Judiciary.
“Being human in nature, either the judges affected will maintain their independence and incur the wrath of the Executive branch or sing to the tune of the Executive and expect the usual reward of elevation or promotion to a higher court,” the GBA contended.
Speaking at the swearing-in of nine justices of the high court in Accra yesterday, the President of the GBA, Nene Amegatcher, stated that “in an era of separation of powers and good governance, it is the responsibility of the Chief Justice, the head of the judicial branch, to nominate a judge that the Executive intends to use to perform any national assignment”.
The nine justices, who were sworn in by the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, are Mr Asmah Akwasi Asiedu, Mr William Boampong, Mr Kwame Gyamfi Osei, Mr Daniel K. Obeng and Mr Francis Obiri.
The rest are Mrs Juliana E. Amonoo-Neizer, Mr Kwaku Tawiah Ackaa-Boafo, Mrs Akua Sarpomaa Amoah and Mrs Jennifer Abena Dadzie.
Nene Amegatcher said it was time judges gave practical demonstration of the concept of the independence of the Judiciary entrenched in the 1992 Constitution.
“This is critical to the sustenance of the rule of law and democratic governance,” he said.
He reminded judges that their position was both noble and religious, explaining that “it is noble because society expects of you the highest standards of behaviour both in private and public life”.
“It is a religious one because the oath just taken by you represents a calling to serve faithfully and with distinction…”
Nene Amegatcher added that the judges were being sworn in at a critical time when the 2014 Afro Barometer Report had indicted the Judiciary of scoring an incredible 85 per cent perception of corruption.
He said every attempt was being made by the Judicial Council to do an introspection to correct and dispel that perception.
For her part, Justice Wood advised the new judges to always remember that judicial powers flowed from the sovereign will of the people and they must, therefore, exercise power on behalf of the people.
She, therefore, urged them to keep their personal and professional integrity inviolated.
The Chief Justice said the ability of judges to exercise competence, diligence and professionalism in the discharge of their duties would undoubtedly earn them the respect and honour of legal practitioners, legal scholars, judicial colleagues and the general public.
The Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Dr Dominic Ayine, told the judges that their first duty was to ensure justice at the Bench, without fear or favour.
The President of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana, Mr Justice Dennis D. Adjei, said the profession of judges demanded that they remained men and women of integrity.