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LHC defers hearing on plea seeks Senate polls by open ballot

LAHORE: Lahore High Court on Tuesday deferred a petition challenging holding the Senate election by secret ballot, ARY News reported.

A high court bench comprised of Justice Atir Mehmood heard a petition of Azhar Siddique Advocate seeking election in Senate by open ballot.

Deputy Attorney General Asad Bajwa informed the court that a Presidential reference over the issue has been under the hearing of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The DAG pleaded to the court to defer the case hearing till the matter decided in the apex court.

Petitioner argued that in his plea in the LHC, the secret ballot procedure in Senate polls has been directly challenged while the presidential reference has sought opinion of the apex court over the matter.

The counsel further pleaded that the horse trading allegations usually mar the senate polls results due to the secret ballot, while the open ballot will make the procedure transparent.

The petitioner pleaded to the court to declare clause 122 (6) of the election law as unconstitutional to hold the Senate elections with open ballot.

The court ruled that the matter should be kept in pending till the supreme court decides the reference.

The bench adjourned further hearing of the case until January 24.

A five-judge larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi, hearing the Presidential reference seeking the court’s opinion over the matter.

The federal government has filed the reference in the Supreme Court under Article 186 of the Constitution seeking its opinion about holding the upcoming Senate polls through open ballot.

The government has sought opinion of the court if the issue can be decided without amending the constitution and introducing amendment in section 122 (vi) of the Election Act 2017.

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