Five-year ban on MPs not unconstitutional: LHC

In Local
April 07, 2024



LAHORE:

The Lahore High Court has ruled that the five-year disqualification of lawmakers was according to the Constitution.

The decision by LHC’s Justice Shahid Bilal Hasan came after a petitioner challenged an amendment to the electoral law that limited the disqualification period from lifetime to five years.

However, the court dismissed the petition and upheld the amendment, stating that clause 2 of the Elections Act, 2017 Section 232 was not inconsistent with Article 62 of the Constitution.

In a 10-page judgment, the LHC ruled that an individual could not be fundamental rights of their fundamental rights under Article 8 of the Constitution.

The petitioner contended that Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution had already been interpreted by a seven-member bench of the Supreme Court.

However, the LHC verdict highlighted the compatibility of the five-year disqualification law with constitutional provisions, pointing out its alignment with the principles enshrined in Article 62.

The court had reserved it verdict at an earlier hearing. Advocate Azhar Siddique appeared on behalf of the petitioner while the Additional Attorney General (AAG) Mirza Nasr Ahmad represented the federal government during that hearing.

The AAG questioned the maintainability of the petition and urged the LHC to dismiss it.

He said the parliament had lawfully introduced the amendment in the law and that too in light of the SC decisions.

The law officer noted that the top court in a judgement had set aside the lifetime disqualification of lawmakers.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that amendment was a violation of the SC’s 2018 decision. He added that under Article 62 (f) of the Constitution, the disqualification period was prescribed as five years, while the top court had already interpreted the provision.

He claimed that the amendment was person specific and introduced to benefit PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and IPP chief Jahangir Tareen.

The lawyer added that no legislation could be introduced to favour a few individuals.

He asked the LHC to set aside the amendment to the Election Act, 2017 for being “unconstitutional” and based on “mala fide intention”.

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