ECP Challenges LHC’s Decision to Suspend DROs and ROs in Supreme Court
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court is now the focal point of attention as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has lodged an appeal against a Lahore High Court decision that led to the Commission suspending the training of district returning officers (DROs) and returning officers (ROs).
This suspension could potentially cause a delay in the general elections.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, is scheduled to hear the ECP’s appeal.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided to take the matter to the apex court after the Lahore High Court suspended its notification on the appointment of DROs and ROs from the bureaucracy for the upcoming general elections.
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Justice Ali Baqir Najafi of the Lahore High Court had suspended the ECP’s December 11 notification, which aimed to conduct the Feb 8 general elections through bureaucracy, in response to a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Consequently, the ECP halted the ongoing training of DROs and ROs.
In response to this development, the ECP’s legal team, during a consultative meeting on Thursday, recommended approaching the Supreme Court.
Acting on this advice, Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja held a crucial meeting on Friday with Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa. The meeting included SC’s Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, as well as Attorney General for Pakistan Masood Anwar.
During the meeting, the chief election commissioner discussed the situation arising from the high court’s order with CJP Isa. Sources indicate that CJP Isa’s consultation with senior judges is ongoing on the matter.
It’s noteworthy that the Supreme Court had previously directed the general elections to be conducted on Feb 8 next year, following an agreement between President Arif Alvi and ECP authorities on the election date.
In the current context, if the general elections are to proceed on Feb 8, the ECP must issue the election schedule either today or tomorrow (Saturday). As per constitutional and legal procedures, the election schedule spans 54 days, commencing on Dec 17 and concluding on Feb 8.
The critical question arising in the current scenario is who will be responsible for submitting and receiving the nomination papers if the election schedule is issued.