Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday directed lawyers of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit a list of tax defaulters prepared by the Federal Board of Revenue.
They were also asked to advance arguments on whether or not citizens who did not have a national tax number could contest elections.
Justice Shah issued these orders while hearing a petition demanding the strict implementation of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution (that lays the criteria for eligibility and disqualification of members of parliament). The petitioner had submitted that many politicians were tax defaulters while several others had never paid taxes. Many of these politicians had submitted their nomination papers with the ECP, the petitioner said.
He asked if a person who had never paid tax could contest elections. He said according to media reports, 70 per cent of the parliamentarians had never deposited tax. The ECP has not notified a procedure to reject the nominations of such aspirants, he said.
The standing counsel told the court that Article-62 could be applied to such contestants. However, the counsel for the ECP sought more time to file a reply. The court will take up the matter on Thursday (today).
LHC seeks reply on nomination forms petition
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday sought replies by Thursday [today] from the election commission secretary and a deputy attorney general on a petition challenging the changes made to the nomination forms.
The petition was filed by a citizen, Muhammad Naveed Yaseen, through Advocate Fahad Ahmed Siddiqi.
The petitioner had submitted that the election commission had ‘deliberately’ inserted Sub Clause (ii) in Clause 3 of the Nomination Form to favour past tax defaulters.
The contents of the above clause are, “I, my spouse, or any of my dependents or a business concern mainly owned by me or the aforesaid, is not in default in payment of government dues or utility charges.”
He said the clause was in contradiction with the provisions of Article 63 (1) (o) which contained “has not defaulted” instead of “is not in default.”
He said the content of Serial No 3 (ii) of the Nomination Form-I and Declaration and Oath is different from the constitutional provision and should be declared illegal.
The petitioner said these words had been ‘deliberately changed’ to favour those with a history of tax default.
He prayed the court to declare the contest of Serial No 3 (ii) of the Nomination Form-1 in direct contradiction with the provisions of Article 63(1) (o) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2013.