Senate Election Open Ballot Reference: Supreme Court summons election commission members tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) has summoned all the members of the Election Commission (ECP), including the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to the Supreme Court for hearing the presidential reference regarding holding of Senate elections through open ballot.

 

According to details, the hearing on the presidential reference regarding holding the Senate election through open ballot was held in the Supreme Court headed by CJP Gulzar Ahmed today.

CJP said that he wanted to ask several questions to the CEC. Election should be secret but it could be investigated on objection.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan remarked that to ensure fair elections is the responsibility of ECP and the general impression is that menace of bribery in the Senate elections is normal. The constitution empowers ECP to ensure transparency in any case.

Justice Yahya Afridi said that general elections are held by secret ballot but there are counter files. When there is a dispute, counter files can be taken. Further he questioned that, can under election rules, votes be scrutinized?

The ECP lawyer said that according to Article 218 of the Constitution, a procedure has been set to stop the corrupt practice.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that the ECP is a body of federal government whereas local government falls under provincial governments. Parliament has not amended the Senate election to be held by open ballot.

ECP advocate further stated that secrecy is the mandate under Article 226 of the constituton but sometimes judicial interpretation is required.

Chief Justice said that no law can reduce the powers of the Election Commission under the Constitution. The Supreme Court has summoned the ECP member to provide a polling scheme that can help to curb corruption in the Senate elections.

It should be noted that the federal government had filed a reference in the Supreme Court on December 23 to hold the Senate elections through open ballot after the approval of the President.

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