Supreme Court turns down ECP's petition on tribunals

Supreme Court turns down ECP's petition on tribunals


The CJP sends case to committee for formation of larger bench

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ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) - The Supreme Court of Pakistan has dismissed the Election Commission's plea to reject the Lahore High Court's decision regarding the formation of election tribunals. 

The apex court issued a notice to the Attorney General for Pakistan and sent the case to a three-member committee for formation of a larger bench. 

Two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan heard the case on Thursday. 

During hearing of the petition filed by the the Election Commission against the formation of election tribunals, Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa remarked, "Is it necessary to make everything controversial in Pakistan"? He also remarked that differences also emerged between the president and Election Commission over the general election schedule. 

Sikander Bashir represented the Election Commission (ECP) and Salman Akram Raja was the counsel for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the case. 

The ECP lawyer informed the court that the case was pertaining to the interpretation of Article 219(C) of the Constitution. 

The chief justice asked Sikander Bashir to apprise the court of some facts of the case. 

Following direction of the CJP, the ECP lawyer informed the court that on Feb 14 last, the commission dispatched letters to all high courts regarding formation of the tribunals. He said formation of the tribunals fell under the purview of the commission. 

He said through these letters all the high courts were requested to furnish the names of judges. 

On Feb 20, he said the Lahore High Court forwarded the names of two judges, and both were notified by the EC for the election tribunals. On April 26, two more judges were named as the election tribunals. 

During the hearing, the CJP stopped the ECP lawyer from using the word of “honourable” for high courts. The CJP remarked that “honourable” was a word for the judges. 

Justice Isa inquired from the ECP lawyer whether parliament in England was addressed as "honourable." 

The CJP remarked that parliamentarians in Pakistan often lacked respect for each other, resorting to mudslinging. "We desire parliamentarians in Pakistan ensure respect for each other." 

He also questioned a lack of respect for the ECP and asked why we do not call it “honourable.” 

The ECP lawyer argued in the court that no controversy emerged until formation of the four tribunals. 

Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan said the ECP sent letters to all high courts and no conflict arose. He said no dispute existed anywhere, except in the Lahore High Court. The proceedings of tribunals are being completed in the Balochistan High Court, he noted.

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa remarked, "Is it a matter of ego"?