The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday said it will look into the Punjab chief minister’s election and see whether the Supreme Court’s interpretation on Article 63-A can be applicable in the present circumstances as it hears petitions from PTI, PML-Q and has started again. Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhary Parvez Elahi opposed the promotion of Hamza Shahbaz to the post.
A five-judge bench comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, Justice Shahid Jameel Khan, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chowdhury, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Salim Sheikh is hearing the matter.
Hamza what Selected As CM of Punjab on April 16, during a provincial assembly session that was marred by violence. He got a total of 197 votes – 11 more than the required 186 – which included 25 disgruntled PTI MPs who were crucial to his victory. He was an MLA on 20 May. sitting To acquittal by ECP.
Since then, several petitions have challenged the election of Hamza as chief minister. However, they were all clubbed together after the court observed that they were identical.
During yesterday’s proceedings, the court indicated On holding fresh elections for the post of Chief Minister of Punjab on 16 April.
Justice Sadaqat, who is presiding over the larger bench, had said that fresh voting would be done by the same presiding officer who conducted the last election, who is Dost Muhammad Mazari, Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly in this case.
He also said that the Supreme Court has already declared That the votes of defectors should not be counted and that “this court may issue orders to give effect to the judgment of the Supreme Court”.
Earlier, in the light of the apex court’s interpretation on Article 63-A – relating to disqualification of MPs on defection – the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sitting PTI’s 25 Punjab Assembly MPs who voted for Hamza said they had parted ways with the party.
‘Explanation of SC order’
When the hearing resumed today, the larger bench reiterated that the interpretation of the orders of the Supreme Court can be implemented in the present circumstances.
Justice Shahid Jameel remarked, “If we find that the previous judgments apply to our judgment, we will immediately issue the order.” “We are watching the elections and see if the Supreme Court’s decision applies to that.”
At one point, the court also held that the President and the Governor are responsible for protecting the Constitution. “They cannot choose to remain silent on any constitutional matter,” it emphasized.
The court said that at present it has two options. “If we say those 25 votes are not included (in CM election), then the presiding officer will have to look into the matter once again.”
Here, PTI’s counsel argued that this would make the court responsible for issuing directions for the next election. The court, however, disagreed saying that the presiding officer would look into the matter in accordance with law.
Meanwhile, at the beginning of the hearing, PTI’s counsel Ali Zafar said that at present there are three petitions in the court. “One pertains to elections, one pertains to oaths and one pertains to illegal actions.”
The court then summoned Hamza’s lawyer and asked him to present his arguments.
After hearing the arguments of PML-N and PTI lawyers, the court adjourned the hearing till 12:30 pm on Thursday (tomorrow).
In his petition, Elahi, who was also the PTI-PML-Q’s candidate for chief minister’s office, requested the court to declare that Hamza was not the chief minister as he failed to garner the requisite number of votes in light of the SC’s interpretation. Were were Stating that the votes of MPs who defected will not be counted.
Therefore, the April 16 election, its results and the certificate by the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly declaring his victory to Hamza had “no legal effect”, the petition said.
The petition requested the High Court to declare “all consequential actions taken by [Hamza] in his stated capacity as Chief Minister and all and any other communication, order passed and notification issued etc., consequent to the declaration of the above result and the issuance of the set certificate … Nil and Nil”.
Separately, PTI’s petition, which was filed by MPA Mohd Sibtain Khan, Zainab Umair, Mian Mohd Aslam Iqbal, Syed Abbas Ali Shah and Ahsan Salim Bariar, said that the session organized to hold the elections had “extreme chaos and Most unfortunate incidents”.
The petition said Deputy Speaker Mazari sought “illegal” assistance from police and provincial authorities to conduct the “false and fraudulent” election, after which he said Hamza had won.
It said that in Hamza’s final count, the votes of 25 dissatisfied PTI MPs were also counted. While then-Governor Cheema refused to accept the election results, Hamza was sworn in because of “judicial redundancy”, it argued.
“As per the investigation conducted by [then] Hon’ble Governor of Punjab, Respondent Secretary of the Provincial Assembly has submitted a report detailing the various dimensions of the election held on 16.04. [then] Hon’ble Governor that the specified election was/are illegal; Thus the respondent was/has the certificate issued by the Deputy Speaker/Acting Speaker without any valid sanction/legal authority,” the petition read.
According to the petition, Hamza’s election is in violation of the constitution and rules of functioning of the Punjab Assembly. It was recalled that Hamza had approached the LHC to hold the elections, saying he considered it an urgent matter as he had the support of 25 dissident PTI MPAs, which was in violation of Article 63 of the Constitution.
It said an analysis of the Supreme Court’s interpretation would lead to the conclusion that the election of the Chief Minister was illegal.
“On this ground alone and keeping in view the scope and intent of Article 63-A of the Constitution, the election was held on 16.04.2022. [should] may be declared without lawful authority and shall be consequently terminated.”
According to Article 63-A of the Constitution, an MP can be disqualified on the ground of defection if he “votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by that Parliamentary party to which he relates, in relation to the election of the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister; or the vote of confidence or the vote of no confidence; or the Money Bill or the Constitution (Amendment) Bill”.
The Article states that the party chief shall declare in writing that the MNA concerned has defected, but before making the declaration, the party chief shall “give an opportunity to such member to show cause why such declaration has not been made against him”. May go” .
After giving the member an opportunity to explain his reasons, the party chief will forward the announcement to the speaker, who will forward it to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). The CEC will have 30 days to confirm the declaration. If ratified by the CEC, the member “will cease to be a member of the House and his seat shall become vacant”.
According to the article, any party aggrieved by the decision of the Election Commission can file an appeal in the Supreme Court within a month. The Supreme Court has 90 days to decide on the matter.