Islamabad [Pakistan], May 12 (ANI): Pakistan Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that “defection” is dangerous for the system as it will ultimately lead to the toppling of the elected government through unfair means and will also put 22 crore people of the country at stake.
This statement was made by a five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel when it resumed the hearing of the presidential reference seeking the apex court’s interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution, related to disqualification of lawmakers over defection, The News International reported.
Babar Awan, counsel for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), concluded his arguments where he stated that defection is a heinous crime and also said that the Supreme Court is the last hope to decide on Article 63-A of the Constitution.
“The process of toppling a government by selling and purchasing lawmakers should be stopped,” Justice Ahsan remarked.
Justice Ahsan further observed that people are following certain cultures where after losing the election, they start their search for buying the loyalties of the lawmakers which will begin to topple a government.
PTI’s counsel Awan submitted that in the Islamic state only honest people are eligible to lead, adding that punishment for defecting from a party is a lifetime disqualification.
Responding to the person’s disqualification to be based on Article 63-A or under 63 (g) which is only for five years, Justice Miankhel said, “In my view, violation of Article 63(1)(g) is a heinous crime, as it relates to the ideology, sovereignty of the country and defamation of judiciary and armed forces.”
Justice Mandokhel observed that the punishment for defection has been mentioned in the Constitution and it is for the court and election commission to decide the fate of dissidents members.
Justice Mandokhel questioned, “How the court could enhance punishment for defection?” He further stated that if the basis of defection is corruption, laws on corruption are there and a reference could be filed to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The judge also observed that after filing a case, the declaration will come from the court and a person could be disqualified for a lifetime, reported The News International.
Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial observed that the court interprets the Constitution under set principles but cannot re-write it.
Over the punishment for the dissident members, PTI’s counsel and Justice Mandokhel debated where Awan submitted that this is not justice that a person is de-seated and then after 15 days he gets elected again to the assembly. While Justice Mandokhel questioned if the court could enhance punishment for a single day. The judge said that Article 63-A provides a forum for action against dissident members and its punishment is de-seating.
“Whether permission could be granted to 26 members for defecting from the party and if so then the majority party will become the minority, adding that 53-A has been inserted as a surgical strike in the 18th Constitutional Amendment for curing cancer,” Awan said.
The chief justice asked the PMLQ counsel to conclude his arguments by Wednesday within 15 minutes and convince the court as to how the vote of a dissident member cannot be counted and adjourned the further hearing. (ANI)