SC rejects PTI candidate plea seeking suspension of ECP orders for re-polling in NA-75 Daska

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ISLAMABAD, March 16 (Online): Supreme Court (SC) has rejected rejected PTI candidate petition seeking suspension of high court and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decision on re-polling in NA-75 Daska.
The SC has maintained we cannot suspend the decision this way. Election commission is constitutional institution. We respect constitutional institutions. We will see from all aspect whether the polls have to be held in the entire constituency or only at some polling stations. Map be made of all the polling stations of the constituency and provided to the court to make the situation clear.
The court remarked the question before it is the standard of the evidence and violations of laws. Holding the polls in fair and transparent manner in the constituency is the responsibility of the election commission of Pakistan.
A 3-membher bench of SC presided over by Justice Umar Ata Bandial took up the case for hearing Tuesday.
Counsel for PTI prayed the court that ECP decision for re-polling in the constituency be suspended. Poling date was extended on the request of Punjab government. Some appointments and transfers have to be made in the constituency under the directives of the ECP.
The counsel for the ECP told the court there are 360 polling stations in NA-75 Daska. Overall registered voters in the constituency stand at 4 lac. Forms 45 in respect of 337 polling stations were received. Forms 45 in respect of 23 polling stations were not received till 4.30 am in the morning. According to home department the situation in the constituency has not changed and it is the same what prevailed earlier. Polling date was extended on the report of home department. ECP summoned report from IG Punjab with reference to law and order situation. IG Punjab has not filed his reply so far.
He said according to report the firing and chaos in the constituency escalated terror therein.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked “we cannot suspend the decision this way. Election commission is constitutional institution. We respect constitutional institutions. ECP has extended the schedule. Perhaps it has extended the date for polling due to this case. The re-polling will take place. We have to see if the re-polling has to be held at limited scale or in the entire constituency. We will not suspend the high court and ECP orders this way. We will review the matter from all aspects. We will have to see if the IG Punjab has filed his reply in ECP. Has ECP issued contempt notice to IG Punjab. Many things have been identified in the ECP decision.
He further observed as per ECP decision violence took place at certain polling stations due to absence of police. The counsel for PTI should study ECP reply first. As far as I remember ECP incurred million of rupees expenses on one seat of National Assembly when I was in high court. ECP should inform how much expenses are incurred in the polls in one constituency of national assembly.
Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi remarked could the videos related to violence be presented in ECP. How it was ascertained that these videos pertained to this constituency. We will have to see who had developed these videos. Did the ECP take decision on the basis of video and whatsapp. This video culture should come to end. Tell us which election takes place without such incidents. Such incidents can be described election culture.
Justice Qazi Amin remarked violence took place at polling stations. It was responsibility of the administration to control the situation. Short order is given by the high court or supreme court. Chief election commissioner is not judge. We cannot overlook fully the videos related to election.
Counsel Ali Amjid Malhi said ECP ordered re-polling on the basis of violence and quarrels. ECP issued notice to the candidates for verification of results in respect of 23 polling stations. DRO leveled no blame on civil administration in report. Election commission ordered for re-polling through short decision. Only superior courts give short orders. What hastened the ECP to give short decision for re-polling in the entire constituency. Why the detailed decision was not issued once on March 8. ECP conducted no more inquiry after February 25.
The court while summoning details of the election expenses in the constituency from ECP adjourned the hearing of the case till March 19.
Ends/Online