A court hearing the petition of Syeda Wahida Shah Bukhari challenging a Rs1,000 penalty imposed by the trial court, adjourned on Monday after the respondent questioned the court’s authority to hear the case. Asghar Ali Siyal, the returning officer of the PS-53 constituency in Tando Muhammad Khan, had lodged an FIR against Shah and later punished her with a fine under the Election Commission of Pakistan’s laws.
In his reply submitted through public prosecutor Haresh Deewan, Siyal maintained that the sessions court was not the right platform for an appeal against the verdict of the ECP. He said that he was given the power of a first-class magistrate to conduct her trial and give a verdict.
Shah approached the court, seeking pre-arrest bail and nullification of the order against her, a day before the seven-day period of paying the fine had lapsed. She would have become a convict by paying the fine or by going to jail for a day or failing to pay it.
The sixth additional district and sessions judge Shahid Pervez Memon adjourned the hearing till April 9 and extended her bail till the next hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2012.