- A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar postpones hearing for one week
The Supreme Court (SC) adjourned on Monday the hearing for the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) review petition against orders to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for one week.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, heard the ECP’s review petition. The CJP noted that the ECP had made fair points that were not raised earlier.
The bench announced that notices would be issued to the provincial governments to present their respective positions along with representatives from other political parties involved.
Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl workers on Monday reached the Supreme Court to protest against the alleged “blanket relief” provided by Umer Ata Bandial to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in multiple cases.
The review petition
Filed on May 3, the ECP in its review petition asked the top court to recall its impugned judgment dated April 4 in the interest of justice and equity, in which it had ordered to hold Punjab provincial assembly election on May 14.
It said that the superior courts of the country have been granted a special power under Article 199 and Article 184(3) of the Constitution to judicially review actions/ decisions of the public bodies.
As per trite law of this land, while exercising the power of judicial review, superior courts look at the process of arriving at a decision but never substitute their own decisions in lieu of the public bodies, the petition said.
The SC’s verdict
The SC had also directed the federal government to hold elections in May and provide Rs21 billion for the elections to the Punjab and KP Assemblies by April 10. It also said the government must make available all the necessary personnel, whether from the Armed Forces, Rangers, or the Frontier Constabulary for the security and other purposes related to the general elections.
The SC’s verdict had come after the ECP set April 30 as the date for elections in Punjab as well as KP, where assemblies were dissolved earlier this year, but then pushed polls forward to October.
The issue of elections has been a contentious and controversial one ever since the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies were dissolved earlier this year. While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has called for polls in the two provinces to be held as soon as possible, the government wants elections to the National Assembly and all provinces to be held at the same time later in the year.