Supreme Court reserves opinion on Presidential Reference
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its opinion over the Presidential Reference seeking the court’s opinion to hold the Senate elections by open ballot, ARY News reported.
A larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, after completion of arguments from the lawyers and rejoinder of the Attorney General, reserved its opinion over the presidential reference.
The counsel of Pakistan Bar Council in his contentions said that he will give his arguments over the election laws, vote secrecy and the proportional representation. ” The National Assembly members been elected directly, while the Senate election completes with the proportional representation,” he said.
“How the elections on reserved seats under Article 51 held with secrecy. The reserved seats awarded to political parties with proportion of their seats in assemblies,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan said. “The election commission gets lists of names from political parties, scrutinize names under proportional representation and after scrutiny, it makes public the names of elected members,” the counsel replied.
“The steps against corrupt practice should be taken before the election, if this argument accepted then Article 218 will become unnecessary,” counsel Mansoor Usman said. “The charges of corrupt practice will be separated with the evidence and it could not be attached to the ballot paper,” he added.
“The objective is to end corrupt practice,” Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked. “The ballot paper is itself an evidence,” Justice Ijaz said. “The election commission should keep its check if a link between money and the ballot paper surfaces,” the court observed.
“Are you saying that all elections being held under Article 226,” Justice Bandial asked. “If the Senate election held with open ballot it will affect all elections,” PBC counsel said. “The constitution says nothing about holding any election with secret ballot. In true sense election actually means secret ballot,” the counsel argued.
“The question is enforcement of the Article 226, why no amendment being introduced to end corruption from the electoral process,” the chief justice asked. “The parliament only passes resolutions for transparency of the electoral process,” Justice Gulzar Ahmed further said.
Attorney General Khalid Javed after completion of the arguments of the lawyers in his rejoinder argued that the scrutiny of the vote could not hurt the secrecy.
“The presidential reference is not based on a political question, but it seeks interpretation of the Article 226,” the AG argued.
“Will the supreme court’s opinion will be final,” Justice Yahya Afridi asked. “The government will be bound to the court’s opinion,” AG said. “A review plea could be filed over the court’s opinion,” Justice Afridi said.
“Review petition could not be filed over the reference,” the state lawyers.
“The court have no relation with the politics, it will only interpret the constitution,” the chief justice said.
The court reserved its opinion on the presidential reference after conclusion of the hearing.