SC adjourns Senate open ballot case hearing till Jan 11

By: News Desk      Published: 02:52 PM, 4 Jan, 2021
SC adjourns Senate open ballot case hearing till Jan 11

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) issuing federal and provincial advocate generals and the speakers of the provincial assemblies, adjourned the hearing on the presidential reference on holding of Senate elections via open ballot till January 11, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan CJP Gulzar Ahmed heard the case, the TV channel reported. The apex court has also ordered that if any other wants to become a party of the case, it can submit the objections to the court.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan said that the senators actually represent the provinces while Justice Yahya Afridi asked why the court should intervene in contradiction, the TV channel reported.

The Supreme Court has started hearing on the presidential reference regarding holding Senate elections by open ballot

Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javedsaid this reference was filed by the President of Pakistan and referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation of Article 226.

“According to you, there are different procedures for elections under the constitution and law,” Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and said parliament has the power to amend the constitution or the law.

The Attorney General pleaded that notice should also be issued to the Election Commission of Pakistan and to the Electoral College.

Case History

The ruling PTI government on December 23 filed a reference in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking opinion on the issue of the senate polls through a show of hands or open balloting.  

Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan submitted the reference after President Dr Arif Alvi gave a go-ahead under Article 186 of the Constitution.

The reference reads, "The president has sought opinion of the apex court on whether the condition of secret ballot referred to in Article 226 of the Constitution is applicable only for the elections held 'under' the Constitution such as the election to the office of president, speakers and deputy speakers of the Parliament and provincial assemblies and "not to other elections such as the election for the members of Senate" held under the Elections Act 2017 enacted to pursuant to Article 222 read with Entry 41 (1) of the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution "which may be held by way of secret or open ballot" as provided for in the Act.”

The government said election for the Senate is conducted in accordance with the Election Act of 2017 and asked if it is possible to introduce the idea of open-balloting in the Senate citing the horse trading in which millions and billions of rupees were used in previous Senate elections.

In its reference, the government said that the process of 'show of hands' instead of secret balloting will bring transparency to the Senate elections.