CJP Says 'Won't Tolerate' Violation Of Constitution As Suo Motu Hearing Begins

CJP Says 'Won't Tolerate' Violation Of Constitution As Suo Motu Hearing Begins
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial has that the top court 'won't tolerate' any violation of the Constitution, as the suo motu hearing into Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections delay begins.

On Wednesday, CJP Bandial took notice of the delay in the announcement of the polling date, following the dissolution of the provincial assemblies about a month ago.

The apex court will determine the constitutional responsibility and authority to announce the date for the elections.

Besides the CJP, the bench comprises Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah.

At the outset of the hearing, the top judge said that the routine schedule of the court is being suspended in order to expedite the hearing.

“In case of a very serious situation, the time for elections can be extended," he observed. "But we have to see if the Constitution is being implemented.”

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During the hearing, Justice Athar Minallah asked whether the provincial assemblies were dissolved according to the Constitution.

Taking the suo motu notice a day earlier, the CJP noted that the matter was referred to him by two SC judges on February 16.

Observing that a month had passed since the assemblies were dissolved, he said, “It seems prima facie that even the matter of appointing the date of the general elections, which is the first step towards the holding of the elections, has still not been resolved”.

The top judge further noted that constitutional authorities “appear to hold divergent, and perhaps even conflicting views on the issue.”

“There is, to put it shortly, a lack of clarity on a matter of high constitutional importance,” he maintained.

On Feb 20, Alvi issued the date for the polls, a day after the ECP recused itself from holding discussions with the president on the elections, saying the matter ‘was being reviewed by the judiciary’.

The Commission had stated that it may not be able to engage in a process of consultation with the office of the president due to the “issue being subjudice at several judicial forums” and a number of other factors. The electoral authority had also criticised the president’s “selection of words” in the letter.