ISLAMABAD: Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek on Wednesday said that neither the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) nor any ECP member can be removed from office by the legislative or discretion of the government.
He said the Constitution envisages security of tenure for the CEC and Commission’s members which cannot be taken away without an amendment in the Constitution, which may itself be controversial and unattainable.
The minister said this after chairing a meeting on the issue of reconstitution of the election commission in pursuance of the decisions taken in the “Islamabad Long March Declaration.”
Naek said the committee considered various aspects of the matter and after deliberating over the relevant Constitutional provisions, there was a consensus that neither the CEC nor any member of the ECP can be removed from office by an executive order.
Article 218 of the Constitution provides for the composition of a permanent election commission for the purpose of holding elections to both houses of the Parliament and the provincial assemblies, he added.
The permanent composition of the election commission implies that it can not be dissolved by any legislative or executive action, Naek maintained.
The process of removal is only in the manner prescribed in Article 209 for the removal of a judge of a superior court, the minister said.
He said that Article 209 of Constitution envisages a reference by the president on grounds which do not appear to be available against the CEC or any member of the commission.
The meeting was attended by senior lawyers including S.M. Zafar, Aitzaz Ahsan, Abdul Latif Afridi, Dr Khalid Ranjha, Dr Farrogh Naseem and Prof Hammayun Ehsan.