Electoral Disqualification Is For 5 Years, But Those Who Destroyed Country Must Not Come Into Power Again: ...

CJP Isa says the decision of the Supreme Court and the provision in the Election Act cannot coexist simultaneously

Electoral Disqualification Is For 5 Years, But Those Who Destroyed Country Must Not Come Into Power Again: Chief Justice

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa on Monday remarked that a verdict of the Supreme Court on lifetime disqualification and amended provisions of the Election Act cannot coexist simultaneously and only one can prevail. Those who contributed to the destruction of Pakistan cannot come into power again, even though they may only be disqualified for five years.

He said this while hearing a case filed by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) MPA Mir Badshah Qaisarani over his disqualification in a fake degree case in the Supreme Court on Monday.

While taking notice of the contradictions between the court's verdict and amendments in the Election Act for lifetime disqualification, the top court issued notices to the Attorney General of Pakistan and advocate generals of all provinces.

The order added that a committee will decidedecide whether a larger bench will comprise five or seven judges.

A copy of the order was also dispatched to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

It further said that if any political party wanted to become a party in the case, they could apply for the purpose.

During the hearing, Justice Athar Minallah dispelled any notion of uncertainty with regard to elections. If anyone creates uncertainty around elections, then that will be in contempt of the Supreme Court.

Justice Minallah further remarked that the case in question pertained to the 2018 elections. He noted that the next elections are upon us, which raises a question of whether this case is maintainable. 

At this, the petitioner's lawyer said that the instant case would impact the upcoming elections.

Chief Justice Isa remarked how someone could remain disqualified for life if they have completed their sentence. At this, the defence lawyer said that if someone submits nomination papers based on an untrue affidavit, they should be disqualified.

The top jurist remarked that there are two views on lifetime disqualification. Suppose there are strict punishments for lifetime disqualification in corruption cases proven by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). What will be the punishment in the case of a heinous crime such as murder? 

At this, the petitioner's lawyer noted that in the event of murder, a politician would remain disqualified for only five years, based on the amended election law.

CJP Isa noted that on the issue of lifetime disqualification, either the Supreme Court's verdict or the amendment to the Election Act can remain in vogue. He further remarked that helping the court decide is better than winning or losing a case.

Exchanging remarks with the petitioner's lawyer, CJP Isa observed that, thanks to him, this confusion will also be addressed.

The court directed to place the matter of creating a larger bench on lifetime disqualification before the bench forming committee of judges of the Supreme Court. 

Further proceedings in the case were adjourned until January 2024.