IHC rejects Yousaf Gilani’s plea against Sadiq Sanjrani’s election

Published April 2, 2022
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (left) and Senate Chairman Muha­mmad Sadiq Sanjrani. — Photo courtesy The Nation/ Reuters
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (left) and Senate Chairman Muha­mmad Sadiq Sanjrani. — Photo courtesy The Nation/ Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday dismissed a petition seeking judicial intervention to annul the result of last year election for Senate chairman office and observed that the petitioner was not without a remedy when a resolution can be moved in the upper house of parliament within the framework of the Constitution.

A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri upheld the decision of a single bench that the judiciary could not interfere in the parliament’s domain.

While the court rejected the petition moved by former premier and a candidate for the Senate chairman office Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani against the election of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and sought court intervention for his removal by declaring the result null and void, his counsel Farooq H. Naek was of the opinion that the court order paved way for in-house change.

The court order stated: “It is only essential and proper that a resolution may be moved by the appellant if he feels that he has been declared an unsuccessful candidate through an erroneous ruling of the presiding officer; making election or the process of election not fair, just and honest, which may be put to vote and whoever has the majority, shall carry the day.”

Observes that a motion for Senate chairman’s removal can be tabled in house

Advocate Kashif Ali Malik termed it a landmark decision, commenting that the court had acknowledged the supremacy of the parliament. He said the court suggested a course of action and as per wording of the judgement it would be the discretion of the custodian of the house to decide upon the resolution so moved.

Mr Gilani had contested for the office of Senate chairman and was declared unsuccessful, as the presiding officer in the election “rejected seven votes” cast in his favour. The PPP candidate had received 42 valid votes, while Sanjrani won the election by bagging 48 votes. In all, 98 senators cast their vote in the election for the chairman office.

Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan argued that the conduct of judiciary could not form basis for discussion in the parliament. Likewise, the proceedings of the parliament could not be called into question before court of law, he said, adding that under Article 53 of the Constitution, the resolution for vote of no-confidence could be filed.

The counsel for Mr Sanjrani, Syed Ali Zafar, supplemented the contentions of the attorney general. He also highlighted concept of tracheotomy of power and argued that their separate domains needed to be maintained or else it could lead to chaos and anarchy. He said the internal proceedings of the parliament were unquestionable before any court of law and the same immunity had been respected by the courts time and again.

Decision on PTI’s plea reserved

Also, the IHC on Friday reserved its decision on the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) challenge to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s order against its petition for keeping its disgruntled founding member, Akbar S. Babar, out of the foreign funding case.

PTI leader Asad Umar had filed an application asking the court to ensure that all case record, including the documents requisitioned through the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), should not be shared with Mr Babar.

When Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the IHC took up the petition, counsel for the ruling party Anwar Mansoor Khan argued that since it was the ECP that had obtained the record related to foreign funding from the SBP and other sources it could not be shared with a private citizen, i.e. Mr Babar.

During the course of hearing, Justice Kayani wondered if there was any legal bar on the ECP against sharing the information with the complainant and pointed out that the ECP did not give undue weight to the complainant and the scrutiny committee prepared its report on the basis of the record it had procured on its own.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2022

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