Senate elections to be held through secret balloting only: SC
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Supreme Court (SC) in its verdict on the Presidential Reference said the Senate elections would be held through secret balloting under Article 226 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
24News HD TV channel reported Tuesday that the SC cleared that constitution confusion and said under the said article, all elections except for the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers would be held through the secret balloting.
The apex court said the SC had advisory jurisdiction and the President of Pakistan could seek legal opinion from it.
The court further said in its legal interpretation of Section 122 (6) of the Election Act 2017 that the Senate elections would be held by secret ballot and the Article 220 of the Constitution gave the power to legislate on corruption and other crimes to the parliament.
Anyhow, Article 220 of the constitution prohibited the Parliament from enacting a law on withdrawal of powers of Election Commission or Chief Election Commissioner, the court verdict said.
The verdict further elaborated that the Election Commission has the power to ensure clean and transparent elections.
The verdict also said that according to Article 220, the federal and provincial executive authorities were bound to assist the Election Commission.
It is worth mentioning here that Supreme Court Judge Justice Yahya Afridi gave a note of dissent in the case decision and said the presidential reference was not of a legal nature.
Justice Afridi said in his dissenting opinion that the opinion of the Supreme Court was final, but dissent has always been a part of democracy. He said bringing the political matter in court means a threat to democratic opinion.
He said disappointment with the political system did not mean that the court could give a better solution to it, the function of the courts was not to interfere in other state institutions.
The note of dissent said that the court's job was only to resolve legal questions and points. He suggested in his dissenting opinion that the task of correcting mistakes should be left to the elected majority instead of the court.
He also said it had also not been decided how many judges of the court would hear the reference and what would be their seniority. He identified that the question asked in the reference should be clearly legal and should not be of a political nature.