ECP files review plea against SC verdict on Punjab polls


It may be recalled that on April 4, Pakistan’s Supreme Court had declared the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to delay the assembly elections in two provinces, including Punjab, as “unconstitutional” and ordered the government to hold snap polls in Punjab on May 14.

The Apex Court had also ordered the government to release 21 billion rupees ($73.17 million) to the election commission to organize the elections. The decision was made following a petition filed by the main opposition party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to delay the Punjab polls after the government refused to give funds to conduct the exercise citing the economic crisis.

The electoral watchdog on Wednesday approached the SC, praying to invoke article 245 of the Constitution, arguing that the same article has been invoked multiple times in the past not only to retrospectively validate the actions taken under the Constitution which were outside the timeframe provided by the Constitution but also pre-emptively to make allowance for performance of the constitutional functions.

Citing Haji Saifullah’s Case, ECP stated that the full Supreme Court excused the non-observance of 90 days timeline for holding elections and validated the holding of elections after about five and a half month period. Yet again, a larger bench constituted of 11 Honourable judges of the Supreme Court in Reference No. 1 of 1988’s, extended the time of four months allowed under Articles 86 and 126 of the Constitution to incur expenditure beyond the period of four months, such expenditure being unavoidable and on account of state necessity.. This Hon’ble Court vide the order under review has itself used Article 254 of the Constitution pre-emptively and mandated the holding of elections beyond the specified period of 90 days.

The ECP in its plea said “it is not suggested that article 254 of the Constitution should be used to stultify the constitutional imperative of holding elections within 90 days, but the Hon’ble Court needs keenly to look at the ground realities. It is reiterated that all provisions of the Constitution are required to be read together in harmony so as to make the provisions effective, workable and meaningful

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