SC bound to give its opinion on presidential reference, says AGP

By: News Desk      Published: 04:57 PM, 13 Jan, 2021
SC bound to give its opinion on presidential reference, says AGP

The Attorney General (AG) of Pakistan has said that the Supreme Court (SC) is bound to give its opinion on the presidential reference regarding holding of Senate elections through open voting, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Wednesday. 

Giving his arguments in the Supreme Court in the presidential reference filed for holding Senate elections through the open ballot, AGP Khalid Jawed Khan said the purpose of filing the reference was to determine the scope of Article 226, which stated that elections be held in the light of the constitution. 

He said the apex court could even give its opinion on any legislation in the future as well. 

The AGP was of the view that the presidential reference was admissible for hearing under Article 186. “The Supreme Court’s opinion on law-making was sought even in the past too, and the court had admitted presidential references for hearing earlier as well. A presidential reference was filed in the apex court when the nation was confronted with the issue of recognising Bangladesh and the court had left it to parliament to recognise the newly-born nation or not,” he recalled. 

The AGP further said there was a mention of Senate elections in the constitution, but the mode of holding these elections had not been specified. 

The Balochistan government has also supported the holding of Senate elections through the open ballot. Submitting its response in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the Balochistan government adopted the stance that the federal government has the power to amend the Election Act allowing open ballotting.

Earlier, the SC’s five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed, took up the presidential reference for hearing.

Opposing the holding of Senate elections via open ballot, Kamran Murtaza, counsel for Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), sought the court’s permission for submitting a written reply in this connection which the court granted. 

The apex court also accepted Senator Raza Rabbani’s plea to become a party in the case. 

The court made it clear that it would only go through what was submitted to it in writing. 

When Justice Ijazul Hassan inquired whether independent candidates could also contest Senate elections, the AGP replied there was no bar on people contesting elections as independent candidates if they are recommended by the legislators.  

The SC granted one-week time to the Sindh government to submit its reply in the case.