Thursday, 19 September 2019 08:27 GMT

Three chief justices reject PTI plea for vote verification

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) At least three chief justices of Pakistan have trashed the PTI petitions for reopening thumb verification of voters in four constituencies, terming the demand unconstitutional.

Former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had referred the PTI case to the election tribunal. Similarly, his successor Chief Justice ® Tassaduq Hussain Jillani also disposed of the election petition saying it was under trial in an election tribunal.

The sitting Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk also dismissed the petitions seeking annulment of May 2013 election, validating the election. The apex court strictly stuck to Article 225 of the Constitution, which envisages that all election matters will be heard by the election tribunals.

It is pertinent to mention here that after the PTI case was referred to the election tribunals, the PTI Secretary General Jahangir Khan Tareen filed a petition with the Supreme Court. However the Supreme Court disposed of the petition and directed the election tribunal to decide Tareen's petition as soon as possible.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani heard the petition filed by the PTI leader through Hamid Khan Advocate.

In his remarks, Justice Jillani said, "Former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has sent your case to election tribunal and the case is under trial in an election tribunal".

After the retirement of Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani three petitions were again filed, urging the top court to declare the May 2013 general election null and void. However, the Supreme Court again dismissed all these petitions.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, was hearing three petitions including one filed by Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, a former Supreme Court judge who was considered close to former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The other petitioners were Zahid Sarfaraz and Daud Ghaznavi.

"Thank you, these petitions are dismissed," Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk said to the petitioners, who failed to satisfy the bench about the maintainability of their pleas.

The bench observed that they could not overlook Article 225 of the Constitution which states: "No election to a house or a provincial assembly shall be called in question except by an election petition presented to such tribunal and in such manner as may be determined by an act of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)."

The chief justice said there was no record on whether or not last year's elections were rigged and maintained that mere allegations were not enough to proceed in this matter."

How it will be proved that elections were rigged?" he said, adding: "Can we decide the case on media reports as well as the statements of parliamentarians?"

The chief justice also asked the counsel for Justice ® Siddiqui as to why he did not make parliamentarians a party to the petition, as they were the ones who would be affected if the court declared the last year elections were rigged.

The chief justice observed that there was no dispute that the right to vote was the fundamental right of every citizen. The counsel contended that Article 225 was not applicable in this matter.

Article 225 envisages that no election can be called into question except by an election petition presented to the election tribunal.

The PTI has no faith in the election tribunals as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan. Imran Khan has even been saying that he could not get justice even from the Supreme Court.

Three chief justices reject PTI plea for vote verification

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