ISLAMABAD, May 30: The Election Commission cannot act on its own on the issue of disqualification of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and will wait for the outcome of the petitions challenging the ruling of the Speaker of the National Assembly, according to EC Member from Punjab Justice (retd) Riaz Kayani.
He told this reporter on Wednesday that the commission’s role in the matter had ceased for the time being, but it would act if directives were issued by the Supreme Court.
“The prime minister’s disqualification case is not dead as we have not taken our hands off for all times to come,” he said.
He said that under Article 62(2) of the Constitution: “If any question arises whether a member of parliament has become disqualified from being a member, the speaker or, as the case may be, the chairman shall, unless he decides that no such question has arisen, refer the question to the Election Commission within 30 days and should he fail to do so within the aforesaid period it shall be deemed to have been referred to the Election Commission.”
Under Article 62(3), the commission is to decide the question within 90 days from its receipt or deemed to have been received and if it is of the opinion that the member has become disqualified, he ceases to be a member and his seat becomes vacant.
Justice Kayani explained that before the expiry of the 30-day period after conviction of the prime minister in the contempt case, the speaker had given a ruling blocking the way for deeming that the question had been referred to the Election Commission.
He said the matter is ceased for now and the commission could do nothing on its own.
The commission will hold no meeting to mull over the matter till the outcome of the petitions. “If we get a decision from the Supreme Court, we are bound to act under the law.”
He said the matter was now sub judice in the Supreme Court and the EC would act in accordance with the Constitution and directives given in the judgment to be delivered.
Another official of the Election Commission said that after the recent amendments to the Constitution, all powers vested in the chief election commissioner had been given to the commission and all important issues except administrative matters were handled by the commission comprising the CEC and members from the four provinces.