SC issues notices to all four AGs, ECP over presidential reference for senate polls

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday issued notices to the all four advocate generals of provinces and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on presidential reference seeking opinion on open ballot for senate elections.

The court also issued notices to the speaker National Assembly, speakers of all four provincial assemblies and the Chairman Senate in this regard.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi heard the case.

During the course of proceedings, Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan said the reference sought an interpretation of Article 226 that stated that all elections under the constitution, other than those of the prime minister and chief ministers, should be held through a secret ballot.

Addressing the Attorney General, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan asked he wanted the court to differentiate between elections under the constitution and the law.

He asked whether the National Assembly elections did not held under the Constitution.

The Attorney General responded that the general elections were held under Election Act 2017.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan said the constitution mentioned senate and assembly elections. He said it was mentioned in the election act that how elections would be held. Local government elections were not mentioned in the constitution, he added.

He said that the Election Act would also be made under the constitution.

He questioned that could any law be above the constitution.

Referring to the Charter of Democracy, Justice Ahsan asked the AGP why the government did not evolve a political consensus on the issue.

Justice Ahsan asked whether the method of National Assembly elections could also be changed through a simple law.

The court also ordered for a notice to be published for all those who were interested in joining the court proceedings.

The apex bench asked all concerned parties to present a synopsis regarding their submission.

Later, the hearing was adjourned till January 11.