Petitions against 2013 election rejected

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected all petitions seeking the court to declare the May 2013 general election as void and remarked that it could not overlook the Article 225 of Constitution which states that all the election matters would be heard by election tribunals.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk resumed the hearing of three identical petitions filed by former apex court Justice Muhammad Akhtar Siddiqui, former interior minister Mian Zahid Sarfraz and Dawood Ghaznavi. They had urged the court to declare May 2013 general election as void.

During the course of proceedings, the court said the petitions were non-maintainable as the Article 225 of Constitution clearly states that all election matters would be heard by election tribunals; so the court could not overlook the said article and Election Tribunals are in place to address grievances pertaining to elections. The CJP remarked that only the vote rigging allegations are not enough to pursue the matter; however, the petitioners have not submitted any evidence to support their allegations; hence there is nothing on record to show whether or not last year’s elections were rigged. He further said the petitioners have not made any parliamentarians a party to the petition, as they are the ones who would be affected by the court’s verdict.

Mian Allah Nawaz, the counsel for former Justice Mahmood Akhter Shahid Siddiqui argued that the general election 2013 is also considered as a challenge to role and constitutional functions of the apex court. He added that the court has power to consider the petition under the Article 184(3) of Constitution, adding that Article 225 is not applicable in this matter. He apprised the bench that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had purchased defective ink and supplied it to returning officers and presiding officers for its use at polling stations.

The petitioners had pleaded before the court to order fresh elections and initiate action against ECP officials and others for their alleged involvement in the purchase of faulty ink. The petitions also accused ECP members, Returning Officers and Presiding Officers of not following the statutory pre-requisites during the electoral process. The court while dismissing petitions stated that only a person who had contested elections could challenge elections in an election tribunal under the Article 225 of the constitution. If any other body wants to challenge the elections result he must file quo warranto in the High Court, according to SC.