After NA, Senate passes bill on appointment of retired judges to election tribunals

After NA, Senate passes bill on appointment of retired judges to election tribunals

The Senate on Thursday passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2024 with a majority vote, seeking the restoration of the original provision to allow the appointment of retired high court judges as members of election tribunals.

The Supreme Court has taken up an appeal of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to settle a raging controversy over who should appoint tribunals to decide election disputes, the commission or the Lahore High Court (LHC).

On May 29, the LHC had held that under Article 219(c) read with Article 222(b) of the Constitution, the LHC chief justice enjoyed primacy in the appointment of election tribunals under Section 140 of the Elections Act, 2017.

According to the ECP, the interpretation of the single judge does not accord with Articles 219(c), 222(d) and its proviso, 225 of the Constitution and sections 140(1) and (3) and 151 of the Elections Act.

In May, Senate Chairman Yousuf Raza Gilani, serving as the acting president at the time, had signed the Elec­tions Act (Ame­nd­m­ent) Ordinance 2024. The ordinance allowed for election tribunals to have retired judges as their members, besides serving judges.

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar tabled the bill today and requested the Upper House to pass it as done by the National Assembly last week.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that many amendments were made to the bill during 2023. He said an amendment was proposed for the speedy disposal of election-related petitions referred to the election tribunals within six months.

Tarar said in the previous legislation, the appointment of retired judges as members of the election tribunals was replaced with sitting judges, but, now, the government has restored the original provision of Section 140 of the Election Act, 2017.

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shibli Faraz and PTI Senator Ali Zafar alleged that the government was bulldozing the legislation process and urged the chairman to refer the bill to the standing committee concerned for detailed deliberation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *