Elections (Second Amendment) Ordinance: IHC issues notices to secretaries of ministry of law, ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Friday, issued notices to the secretaries Ministry of Law and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), on the petition challenging newly-promulgated Elections (Second Amendment) Ordinance about electronic voting in the elections.

A single bench of Justice Aamer Farooq heard the petition of Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Barrister Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha moved through Umer Gilani advocate.

During the hearing, Justice Farooq asked the counsel whether his client had an objection over the use of electronic machines in the elections.

Gilani replied they have no objection over the use of electronic machines in the elections but the process the government had used, by issuing the ordinance.

After hearing the preliminary arguments, the IHC bench issued notices to the secretary Law and secretary ECP, and also to the principal secretary to the prime minister, and deferred the proceedings.

Justice Farooq directed the office to club this petition with the other petitions challenging the issuance of ordinance, and sent the matter to the Chief Justice of IHC, Justice Athar Minallah, to fix the matter before a larger bench.

The petitioner has prayed before the court to declare the Ordinance illegal, unconstitutional being ultra vires to Article 89 of the Constitution and having been promulgated in a mala fide manner.

He has also requested to declare that the President’s power to promulgate ordinances can only be used to bring about such legislation which is: (a) necessary to enable the federal government to respond to an emergency situation such as war, famine, epidemic or rebellion which put the life, liberty or property of the people of Pakistan at stake; (b) where the emergency which is being responded to arose after the prorogation of the last session of Parliament; and (c) where waiting for the commencement of the next session of either house of Parliament would cause irreparable loss of life, liberty or property to the people of Pakistan.

He has stated though Elections (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 is one-page document but it makes important legislative overhauls of the electoral procedure regime in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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