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SC reserves verdict in disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) case

Updated February 14, 2018

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict in the case determining whether disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution is for life or time-specific.

Article 62(1)(f), which sets the precondition for a member of parliament to be "sadiq and ameen" (honest and righteous), is the same provision under which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by a five-judge SC bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on July 28, 2017 in the Panama Papers case. Likewise, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen was disqualified on Dec 15 last year by a separate bench of the apex court under the same provision.

A five-member bench of the apex court ─ headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah ─ reserved the verdict in all 17 appeals against the disqualification of lawmakers.

The verdict was reserved after Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf completed his arguments.

During the hearing, when the chief justice asked if the the declaration of honesty expires on its own after some time, he was told that it doesn't.

"If a crime has been committed, the provision applies for life," Justice Ejazul Ahsan said.

"If the time has not been determined for the disqualification, does it mean the subject has been disqualified for life?" Justice Nisar asked.

"The parliament will have to look into that," the Attorney General replied.

"The Constitution does not determine the length of the disqualification period under Article 62(1)(f)," Ausaf said in his concluding arguments, adding that the court would have to look into the matter on a case to case basis.

It is pertinent to mention that four of the aforementioned judges, excluding Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, have given either observations or judgments in the disqualification cases of Nawaz Sharif and PTI leaders Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen.