Senate polls: SC to announce opinion regarding presidential reference on Monday

Published February 27, 2021
The Supreme Court will issue its opinion on the presidential reference seeking the apex court's opinion on holding Senate elections through open ballot on Monday. — Photo courtesy SC website/File
The Supreme Court will issue its opinion on the presidential reference seeking the apex court's opinion on holding Senate elections through open ballot on Monday. — Photo courtesy SC website/File

The Supreme Court will share its opinion on the presidential reference seeking the apex court's view on holding Senate elections through open ballot on Monday, according to a supplementary cause list issued on Saturday.

As per the cause list, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, notices were issued to the Attorney General (AG) for Pakistan, chief election commissioner, Senate chairman and the speaker of the National Assembly. Additionally, notices were also sent to speakers of the four provincial legislatures, the advocates general of the four provinces, members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and others.

The opinion will be announced in the open court by a five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi at 9am on Monday.

The top court had reserved its opinion on the issue on Thursday after concluding the arguments. The reference was heard by the five-member larger bench.

The lawyer for the ECP had requested the court to give its opinion by February 28 so the process for holding the upcoming Senate elections, which are slated to take place on March, could be completed in time.

During the hearing, the chief justice had questioned why a constitutional amendment was not being done to end corruption in the election process, going on to observe that resolutions were passed by the parliament to make the election process transparent. "Everyone is accepting there are corrupt practices [but] no one is taking measures to stop them," he had remarked.

Justice Afridi questioned whether the court's opinion on the presidential reference would be considered final to which the AG responded that the government would be bound by it.

AG Khalid Jawed Khan had on December 23 moved the 11-page reference under Article 186 of the Constitution relating to the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

President Arif Alvi has sought answer to the question of whether or not the condition of secret ballot under Article 226 of the Constitution applies to the Senate elections.

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