ISLAMABAD: The PTI on Saturday requested the Supreme Court to fix its review petition challenging the decision to deny the party its ‘bat’ symbol for general elections.

The fresh application filed by PTI said the review petition should be heard by a full court “in the interest of justice and completeness”.

The scope and ambit of the judgement under review is already being debated before a full bench in the reserved seats case, the application said while referring to reserved seats case which is being heard by all judges of the Supreme Court.

The question has arisen whether taking away the “bat” symbol from PTI resulted in the non-allocation of reserved seats to them or whether the ECP wrongly interpreted SC’s order.

Says petition raises ‘fundamental and important’ questions warranting healing by a larger bench

The issue of reserved seats and their entitlement would remain “unresolved” unless it is heard together with the reserved seats case by the larger bench, PTI argues in its petition and also requested for an early hearing otherwise the petitioner will “suffer irreparable loss and injury”.

The petition also referred to the case titled ‘Hadayatullah vs Federation of Pakistan’ where a three-member bench hearing a set of review applications referred the matter to the chief justice of Pakistan for the formation of a larger bench “in view of the importance of questions raised” in it.

A larger bench comprising five judges then heared the review applications, the petition added.

The PTI pleaded that the application raised fundamental and important questions that required a hearing by a larger bench.

“Therefore, in the matter at hand, the Honorable Supreme Court may fix this review petition to be heard by a larger bench as well,” it said.

“More specifically, this case may be heard by the larger bench hearing the reserved seats case being a connected matter since the non-allocation of a common election symbol to the petitioner resulted in reserved seats not being given to its deserving members in the parliament,” it continued.

The application pleaded that the operation of the Supreme Court’s Jan 13 judgement was causing “immense loss to PTI and the public” at large, who were “disenfranchised” from electing the party of their choice in general elections.

PTI members were unable to contest elections under a common symbol due to the said judgement where the court upheld ECP’s Dec 22, 2023 order of depriving the party of its elections symbol.

“The issue at hand involves a violation of basic fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and the delay in deciding the case is fatal.”

In the review petition, PTI said that the Supreme Court, being the country’s apex court, cannot and does not delve into factual controversies unless there is a substantial defect in the reading of evidence by the lower court.

The top court’s intervention is warranted only when a significant flaw is identified, the petition argued.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2024

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