ISLAMABAD: Top court will resume hearing of the presidential reference on Monday (today) seeking interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution which deals with disqualification of parliamentarians over defection.
The presidential reference has urged the Supreme Corut to advise that which interpretation from two interpretations of Article 63-A should be adopted as the first interpretation, khiyanat (dishonesty) by way of defections warrants no pre-emptive action save de-seating the member as per the prescribed procedure with no further restriction or curbs from seeking election afresh.
While the second interpretation “visualises this provision as prophylactic, enshrining the constitutional goal of purifying the democratic process, inter alia, by rooting out the mischief of defection by creating deterrence, inter alia, by neutralising the effects of vitiated vote followed by lifelong disqualification for the member found involved in such constitutionally prohibited and morally reprehensible conduct.”
It is pertinent to mention that the development took place days after several PTI lawmakers, who had been ‘in hiding’ at the Sindh House in Islamabad, revealed themselves — proving that the opposition’s claims of having “won over” members of the ruling coalition were indeed true.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and some cabinet ministers had earlier accused the opposition of indulging in horse-trading ahead of the crucial vote on the no-confidence resolution, disclosing that the capital’s Sindh House had become a centre for buying and purchasing members.
Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial is heading the five-member larger bench and Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan will commence arguments in the matter as he has submitted before the bench during last hearing on 25 that he needs a few more hours to furnish his arguments.
It is pertinent to mention that during last hearing of the reference Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial has observed the court could not “fill in the blanks” and asked the government why it did not enact a law to determine the length of disqualification of a lawmakers for violating Article 63-A. He was of the view that nothing related to disqualification over defection is mentioned in the Election Act 2017. Chief Justice Bandial asked the AGP while referring to Article 63-P of the Constitution that the federal government had the power to make the law then why was it not done.
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