Tuesday July 05, 2022

SCBA challenges SC verdict on dissidents’ vote

By Our Correspondent
June 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association Thursday challenged the Supreme Court's judgment, declaring the vote of dissident members of political parties would not be counted.

The SCBA filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking a review of its decision on the matter. A five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial on May 17 by majority of 3-2, had held that Article 63-A of the Constitution, which deals with defection, protected the fundamental rights of a parliamentary party rather than its members.

The court had held that a vote cast contrary to the party line should not be counted, adding that political parties are an integral aspect of the bedrock on which our democracy rests and their destabilisation tends to shake the bedrock, which can potentially put democracy itself in peril.

In the petition, the Supreme Court Bar Association submitted that the decision of the court declaring that the vote of dissident members would not be counted was against the Constitution.

The SCBA further submitted that the apex court had ignored the principle of constitutional interpretation that had consistently been followed and upheld by it. Hence it submitted that the holding of apex court in paragraphs 1 to 3 of the order merited reconsideration and review by this court.

Making the Federation of Pakistan and Election Commission of Pakistan as respondents, the SCBA contended that Article 63-A had been inserted in the Constitution in 1997 that expressly provided for de-seating of defecting members and placed no other limitation on the right of members of the parliament to cast their votes in parliamentary proceedings, including a vote of no-confidence against a prime minister.