ECP’s decision to postpone Punjab polls ‘taken in haste’: Chief Justice

  • Five-member bench adjourns hearing of case related to PTI's petition against ECP for delaying Punjab elections
Published March 28, 2023

Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said on Tuesday that Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone Punjab assembly election till October 2023 was “taken in haste”.

His remarks came as the SC resumed hearing of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) petition against the ECP order to delay the polls. He also said that the court did not want to drag the matter.

He also proposed a pay cut for himself and other judges to enable authorities to fund elections across the country.

During the hearing, Justice Jamal Mandokhail questioned what ECP will do if SC revokes its decision to delay elections.

Later, SC adjourned the hearing till Wednesday.

A five-member bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail is hearing the case.

The CJP welcomed the new Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Usman Awan in the court and said that the court looks forward to getting the best assistance from him.

The chief justice further said that they did not want to prolong the proceedings, saying that the simple question was whether the election commission can advance the election date or not.

Moreover, the attorney general mentioned the dissenting notes of two SC judges, urging the bench to first take a decision on the March 1 verdict.

To this Justice Manokhail pointed out that “the number of judges who issued the March 1 judgment is the apex court’s internal matter”.

Manokhail inquired if holding elections within the stipulated time of 90 days was not a constitutional requirement. “Can the ECP delay the date for polls?”

Ahead of the hearing, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) filed pleas in the SC to become respondents in the case.

The hearing began on Monday when Justice Munib Akhtar issued a notice to the ECP for delaying the elections.

Supreme Court issues notice to ECP for delaying Punjab elections

The court had also demanded guarantees from the government and the PTI that elections will be peaceful and transparent. Meanwhile, the chief justice questioned whether the ECP could set aside a poll date given by the president, noting that there was no past order from the SC regarding the matter.

On March 1, the SC had ordered the ECP to hold elections within 90 days of the dissolution of the Punjab assembly and directed relevant authorities to provide funds and security. However, the ECP decided to push elections to October, a move challenged by the PTI in court.

PTI said the decision violates the constitution and claimed ECP was in contempt of the Supreme Court.

Two SC judges for revisiting CJP’s power

On Monday, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail released a detailed note related to the SC’s March 1 verdict regarding the holding of elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in which they called for the reconsideration of the power of the Chief Justice to make unilateral decisions.

The judges called for a re-examination of the Supreme Court’s dependence on the solitary decision of one person [CJP], saying that the top court could not function without the consensus of all its members.

Justices Mansoor Shah, Jamal Mandokhail call for revisiting CJP’s ‘one-man show’ in SC

The note suggested that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court should not be exercised “frequently and incautiously” and that it should be exercised only in exceptional cases of public importance relating to the enforcement of fundamental rights.

The judges also expressed their reservations about how the court’s original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution was invoked suo motu in the present matter and the constitution of the nine-member bench.


Comments are closed.

Pakistani1 Mar 28, 2023 01:15pm
Are there no cases pending in Pakistan courts. I see every day that large number of judges are engaged on daily basis involved with high profile cases. What about the thousands of pending cases where common citizens are involved? When will these be listened to?
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Ilovenawazshit Mar 28, 2023 02:05pm
These SC judges are involved in an internecine duel and like the politicians will sully the judiciary. What a shame. They will fudge their judgements to suit their political leanings/corruption. They should be called "Fudges" not judges.
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Abdullah Mar 28, 2023 03:24pm
@Pakistani1, the courts are only for imran khan not for the public and poor people.we can wait for chief justice to do some justice for the public.
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Rafique Mar 28, 2023 03:28pm
the suppre court judges espacially some group of judges always trying to find some way to facilitate or support to IK campign and that,s why again & again they made the bench of same like minded judges to sabotage the political government just for their personal agenda
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MKA Mar 29, 2023 05:55am
First CJ should clarify if comments are his or his family's.
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MKA Mar 29, 2023 06:02am
Haste, CJ doesn't bother to listen to the counsels in order to rush things and impose his weird mindset.
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