Purpose of Article 63A is to ensure loyalty to party: CJP
Deviation from party is like cancer, remarks Justice Munib Akhtar
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday remarked that the purpose of Article 63A is to ensure loyalty to the party and disqualification is a trivial matter.
A five-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, heard the reference.
During the proceedings, the CJP observed that there has been only one case of Article 63A since 1998, which means that the party chief has not taken this article seriously.
Justice Munib Akhtar remarked that not abiding by one’s oath amounted to "dishonesty", adding that a dissident is elected on a ticket from a particular political party.
"Cancer is when the body’s cells begin destroying the body," he commented, adding that deviation from the party had also been called a cancer.
The counsel of the PPP Farook H Naek while presenting his arguments said that Article 63-A was made a part of the Constitution via the 14th Amendment and it gave broad powers to party heads.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) did have not have the authority to reject the party head’s decision prior to a presidential order amending Article 63-A in 2002 that reduced the powers of party heads, the PPP counsel said.
Farooq H Naek said that the reason that no reference was filed under Article 63-A is flexibility in politics, which leads to severe anarchy.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that Article 62(1)(f) did not specify the length of disqualification but its interpretation was provided by the SC to which Farooq H Naek said that the legislators did not determine the disqualification for a deviant member in Article 63-A.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that on four points in Article 63-A, compliance to the party’s policy has been stressed and loyalty is basic constitutional principle and Article 63-A was meant to ensure loyalty with the party.
“We have to see the constitution as whole,” Justice Bandial said. “A party’s ticket-holder gives oath, to which party he belongs,” Justice Munib Akhtar observed. “A ticket-holder also gives oath in paper to remain bound to the party’s policy and discipline,” Justice Munib further said.
Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel remarked that severe punishment like disqualification cannot be given without trial. He added that an independent candidate who joins the party after winning does not take an oath swearing allegiance to the party.