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Waheeda Shah to remain disqualified for two years

Published Nov 04, 2012 08:37pm

Waheeda Shah at the Supreme Court building in Islamabad.—File photo

ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner, Justice (R) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim has sustained the disqualification of Waheeda Shah, a candidate who had slapped an election official during polling on a Sindh Assembly constituency in Feb this year.

Announcing the reserved judgment in this case at Karachi, the CEC disqualified Waheeda Shah from being elected as a member of an Assembly for two years in view of her conviction under Section 86(3)(b) of the Representation of People Act, 1976 (ROPA).

Waheeda Shah had been found guilty of slapping Presiding Officer Habiba Memon and others during the polling of by-elections at polling station No 16 on February 25, 2012 and had therefore been found guilty of interfering in the polling process.

The ECP had earlier taken serious notice of the event and by a majority decision, thereafter directed the Returning Officer to take cognisance of the offence under Section 86(3)(b) of the Representation of the People Act (ROPA) 1976.

The Returning Officer,vide decision dated March 05, 2012, convicted Waheeda Shah of committing an offence under Section 86(3)(b) of ROPA and imposed a fine of Rs1000 on her.

In pursuance thereof, on March 07, 2012, the ECP declared the poll of PS-53 void under Section 103AA of the ROPA and disqualified Waheeda Shah from being elected as a member of an Assembly for two years under Section 100 of the ROPA by separate majority decisions.

Subsequently, the Sindh High Court maintained her conviction but quashed her disqualification on the ground that the power to disqualify under Section 100 of the ROPA vests exclusively with the Chief Election Commissioner and not with the ECP.

In pursuance to the above, a notice was issued on behalf of the CEC to Waheeda Shah for a hearing and the matter was finally argued at length on October 24, 2012 and the judgment was reserved.

The CEC has observed in the judgment that Waheeda Shah has undermined the entire election process and faith of the country in our democracy.

Furthermore, elections and their results will become farcical if candidates are given a free hand to coerce, threaten or abuse election officials and therefore, such conduct cannot be condoned.