Supreme Court to take up ECP’s tribunal plea on 20th

Electoral body has challenged LHC decision to appoint tribunals

Hasnaat Malik June 15, 2024
The Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: APP/FILE


A day after it was filed, the Supreme Court on Friday scheduled the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) petition — challenging the Lahore High Court’s decision to appoint six tribunals to settle polls disputes in Punjab — for hearing on June 20.

A division bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan will take up the matter.

Instead of filing an intra-court appeal (ICA), the ECP has approached the SC against the decision of a single judge of the LHC.

It has been learnt that the ECP’s legal team was also interested in moving an ICA but a senior law officer suggested that the commission should approach the apex court against the LHC decision.

A cause list has been issued about the scheduling of the ECP’s petition.

It will be interesting to see whether the top court’s division bench will urge the ECP to move an ICA in the LHC or grant it the right to appeal.

It will also be intriguing to observe whether the SC division bench will deliver the final verdict or refer the matter to the three-judge committee for the formation of a larger bench under the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Act, 2023.

A senior ECP official admitted that there was a need to interpret the “consultation”, which was required under Section 140 of the Election Act, 2017 to take place between the commission and the relevant high court chief justice on the establishment of polls tribunals.

The LHC decided that under Article 219(c) read with Article 222(b) of the Constitution, the LHC chief justice had pre-eminence in the appointment of election tribunals over Section 140 of the Elections Act.

The ECP has questioned whether the commission or the LHC had the final say in the appointment of tribunals.

Sikandar Bashir Mohmand is the lawyer representing the ECP in this case.

CJP Isa is already facing immense criticism on account of the January 13 order wherein the intra-party elections of the PTI were declared illegal.

Salman Akram Raja is the opposing lawyer in the case.

It has been witnessed that there is a serious confrontation between the executive departments and PTI since the violent riots on May 9 last year.

There are two main issues between them.

The PTI is complaining about the alleged human rights violations and rigging in this year’s general elections. The role of the superior courts is crucial amid all these occurrences.


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