SC dismisses plea against CEC's appointment

Justice Bandial says appointment of ECP chief, members based on merit


Hasnaat Malik September 15, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja as it upheld the objections raised by the registrar’s office on the plea.

A two-member bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Ata Bandial heard the case. Justice Bandial said the incumbent chief of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was a retired civil servant and that there were no solid grounds provided in the plea for his dismissal.

The court asked if any serving judge was part of the ECP. At this, the petitioner said that there were no serving judges in the ECP.

Justice Bandial responded that then there was no need to pursue the matter.

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According to the top court, the appointment of ECP members, including the election commissioner, was based on merit and competency.

The petition

A constitutional petition was filed by Ali Azeem Afridi Advocate under Article 184 (3), requesting that "section 4 of the Constitution (Twenty-Second Amendment) Act, 2016 (XXV OF 2016); to the extent of allowing appointment of senior civil servant and technocrat as chief election commissioner and by treating them at par with that of the judge of the Supreme Court and on that score enabling them to superintend and supervise the role of member(s); under the robes as judges of the high court; be declared ultra vires of the constitution".

"Allowing appointment of the most senior member in age i.e. senior civil servant or technocrat; to superintend or supervise the role of a person who has been a Judge of a High Court given Section 7 of the Constitution (Twenty-Second Amendment) Act, 2016 (XXV of 2016) be declared ultra vires of the Constitution."

The petitioner pleaded with the apex court to declare the appointment of the incumbent CEC unconstitutional in the eyes of the law.

The petition stated that "the appointment of senior civil servant and technocrat as CEC; given its placement equally with that of a judge of the Supreme Court; impels novelty and outmode(s) the salient features; steering the constitution".

However, the top court’s registrar office returned the petition after raising six objections.

The registrar's office noted that the petitioner had not mentioned how the issue was related to public importance. It further objected that the language of the constitutional petition was ambiguous and misconceived as contents of the petition were interlinked.

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