In expressing his personal view, Pakistan’s Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said on Thursday that Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution does not give the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the authority to permanently disqualify a lawmaker from holding public office.
During the hearing of PTI politician Faisal Vawda’s appeal against his lifetime ban, Umar Ata Bandial made the comments.
Vawda said in his appeal that the orders issued by the ECP on February 9 and the Islamabad High Court on February 16, 2022, are “arbitrary and without lawful authority and of no legal effect,” and that they are also in conflict with decisions made by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He requested that the Supreme Court overturn the decisions of the ECP and the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The petitioner questioned whether the Election Commission is a court of law for the purposes of Article 62 (1) (f) of the Constitution and whether it has jurisdiction under Article 218 (3) of the Constitution and Section 8 (c) of the Election Act 2017 to deal with and decide the matter of alleged pre-election qualification or disqualification of a returned candidate in view of the judgments of the Supreme Court reported as 2022 SCMR 42 and 2021 SCMR 1675 (Muhammad Salman case).
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The case was considered by a three-judge panel of the highest court, led by CJP Bandial.
The bench questioned Vawda’s attorney throughout the proceedings: “Can the SC maintain the declaration of the high court issued under Article 62(1)(f) or not? Why shouldn’t the SC employ the authority granted under Article 187 to carry out the criteria of full justice?
“In my opinion, the ECP does not have the power to disqualify for life under Article 62(1f). Why should we not use Article 187 when it seems that something wrong has happened?” remarked the CJP.
The court adjourned the hearing till November 8.