Supreme Court Reverses PHC Ruling On RO Appointment

Web DeskJanuary 3, 20243155 min
Supreme Court Reverses PHC Ruling On RO Appointment

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa expressed concern on Tuesday regarding the courts making decisions on election-related matters without giving the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) an opportunity to present its stance. This raised suspicions for Chief Justice Isa, suggesting that these decisions might be employed as a strategy to obstruct the electoral process.

The court accepted an appeal from the ECP, subsequently overturning the decision of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) related to the suspension of the returning officer (RO) for PK-91 Kohat constituency in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Read more : ECP To Challenge PHCs Decision of Reinstating PTIs Bat Symbol

Chief Justice Isa, leading a three-member bench that included Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Musrat Hilali, emphasized the significance of due process in electoral matters. He questioned the courts’ practice of making decisions without granting the ECP an opportunity to be heard, raising suspicions about potential tactics aimed at hindering the electoral process.

The appeal from the ECP pertained to the PHC’s suspension of the RO appointment for PK-91 Kohat without notifying the ECP in advance. The ECP’s lawyer informed the court that 31 candidates were contesting for PK-91 Kohat. While the nomination papers of 12 candidates had already undergone scrutiny, the remaining 19 candidates were scheduled for scrutiny by January 5.

Acknowledging the ECP’s position, the court set aside the PHC’s decision. Chief Justice Isa remarked that it was understandable if someone objected to the RO being related to a candidate, but it was unacceptable for someone to demand the appointment of an RO of their choice.

During the proceedings, Chief Justice Isa expressed his bewilderment at the unnecessary filing of applications, describing the situation as very strange. He found it beyond comprehension why such applications were being submitted. He also mentioned a case where an RO fell ill, and his medical certificate was on record. However, when another RO was appointed, the PHC suspended the appointment.

The chief justice’s concerns reflect a broader issue of procedural fairness and the need for thorough consideration of election-related matters. By overturning the PHC decision, the court affirmed the importance of due process in ensuring fair and transparent electoral processes. The skepticism raised by Chief Justice Isa underscores the need for a comprehensive and impartial approach to address election-related issues and maintain the integrity of the electoral system.

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