Article 62(1) (f) lifetime ban provision is draconian: CJP Bandial

ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial described Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, which prohibits politicians for life, as a “draconian” law.

While hearing a petition filed by PTI leader Faisal Vawda against his lifetime disqualification in a case involving the submission of a false affidavit about his US nationality, the chief justice made these remarks.

Today, a three-member panel of the apex court presided over by the chief justice, heard the case.

The CJP stated, “Article 62 (1)(f) is a draconian law, and we will hear this case with extreme caution and attention to detail.”

Faisal Vawda, representing the PTI, petitioned the apex court in February under Article 185(3) of the Constitution for permission to appeal against the February 9 order of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the February 16 judgment of the Islamabad High Court.

Vawda had argued that the ECP order and the IHC judgment are arbitrary, devoid of legal authority, and without legal effect, and that they are also in conflict with the decisions of the supreme court.

He asked the court to reverse the decision of the ECP and the IHC.

In his appeal, the PTI leader argued that the ECP had provided no justification for disqualifying him for life under Article 62(1)(f). It added that the electoral body appears to believe that any individual disqualified under Article 63(1)(c) — for having dual nationality — could be automatically penalized under Article 62(1). (f).

Today, when the Supreme Court bench heard the case, Vawda’s attorney, Waseem Sajjad, stated that his client ran for office in 2018 and that a petition for his disqualification was filed in the high court two years later.

At this point, the CJP stated that the ECP has the authority to investigate a false affidavit submission, adding that the facts would remain unchanged even if the Supreme Court revokes the order.

“The Election Commission has properly examined the facts in Faisal Vawda’s case; the only question is whether the ECP has the authority to order permanent disqualification.”

 

Subsequently, the hearing was postponed until October 6. Importantly, the Supreme Court ruled in April 2018 that the disqualification under 62(1)(f) would be permanent. According to this article, former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tarin are both disqualified for life.

What is paragraph (f) of Article 62?

Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution deals with the qualifications of members of Parliament and the terms Sadiq and Ameen. However, it does not specify a duration for the disqualification.

The article is as follows:

“A person is ineligible for election or appointment to the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless: He is a Pakistani citizen; In the case of the National Assembly, he must be at least 25 years old and registered to vote on any electoral roll in- Pakistan, for election to a general seat or a seat reserved for non-Muslims; and any province from which she seeks election to a reserved seat for women.

In the case of the Senate, he must be at least 30 years old and a registered voter in the province or, if applicable, the Federal Capital or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas from which he seeks membership.

He has a good reputation and is not infamous for violating Islamic injunctions. He has sufficient knowledge of Islamic teachings, performs the obligatory duties prescribed by Islam, and abstains from committing major sins; He is wise, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, and there is no legal declaration to the contrary; After the establishment of Pakistan, he has not worked against the country’s integrity or opposed its ideology. Non-Muslims are not subject to the disqualifications specified in subparagraphs (d) and (e), but they must have a good moral reputation.”