KARACHI, May 27: The Sindh High Court is learnt to have recommended three former district and sessions judges for appointment as election tribunals to adjudicate poll disputes after the Election Commission of Pakistan on Monday withdrew the notification of earlier appointments made without the consultation of the SHC chief justice.
Sources told Dawn that the names of several former district judges were considered for appointment as election tribunals by the SHC.
They said that the ECP had notified the appointment of three former district judges — Kausar Ali Bukhari, Qazi Allah Bux and Jamil Raza Zaidi — as election tribunals in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur.
However, sources in the ECP said that the notification of the three tribunals was withdrawn after the commission conceded that the consultation with the SHC chief justice was imperative for the appointment of the election tribunals to hear the election petitions under Section 52 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976.
They said that the acting registrar of the SHC, Fahim Siddiqui, on Monday wrote a letter to the ECP’s additional director general (admin), Iftikhar Ahmed, drawing the attention of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to a judgement of the Supreme Court in constitutional petitions Nos. 53/2007 and 83/2012.The sources quoted the SHC registrar as writing that “prima-facie subject notification is hit by the above referred judgment and any proceeding taken by the Election Tribunal so constituted in Sindh without consultation of the Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court may suffer from being corum non-judice and thus entire exercise may be in futility”.
They said that the SHC registrar requested the ECP DG to place before the CEC as desired by the SHC chief justice.
Later in the afternoon, the sources said, the ECP Director General, Syed Sher Afgan, requested the SHC registrar to immediately send three names of retired district and sessions judges of “impeccable reputation” to serve as election tribunals.
They said that the ECP DG requested the SHC registrar to send the recommendations immediately through facsimile “in view of the urgency of the matter”.
It may be recalled that the acting registrar of the SHC had in the first half of the day put a note to SHC Chief Justice Mushir Alam regarding the anomalies in the appointment of the election tribunals in the province.
The acting registrar reported to the SHC chief justice that the ECP had appointed the election tribunals in clear violation of the apex court’s judgement in the two constitutional petitions as the appointments were made without obtaining prior concurrence of the SHC chief justice.
It may be noted that the retired district and sessions judges are being appointed to head election tribunals for the first time as earlier the election tribunal was headed by a sitting judge of the high court.