Article 63-A: ‘Defection is a menace but lifetime ban would be severe punishment,’ observes CJP – Pakistan


Pakistani Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday noted that while the “heresy” was a “serious threat” to parliamentary politics, imposing a lifelong imprisonment on all lawbreakers would be “severe punishment”.

He made the remarks as a five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, which included Judge Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Judge Munib Akhtar and Judge Jamal Khan Mandokhail, also heard a presidential referendum seeking an interpretation of Article 63 – by the high court. A Constitution, related to the detention of lawmakers for rebellion.

“In the future of the country, a stable government is needed,” the chief justice said, adding: ” [game of] the music chairs that have been running power since the 1970s should end. ”

Justice Bandial said that while the court could not amend the law, it would not allow anyone to “become a victim of destructive measures”.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said one way to deal with the crime was to resign, but he wondered what the punishment would be.

He said the period of prohibition was not mentioned in Article 63-A, and asked if the article mentioned could be read in conjunction with another.

“The question is, what will be the process of preventing lawlessness?” He asked Judge Jamal Khan Mandokhel. “If the accusation of bribery was laid, what would be the evidence?”

Justice Ahsan has noted that disobedience to the constitution violates the constitution. “If elections are held legally then these things could end.”

Justice Ahsan asked attorney Mansoor Awan, a consultant to the Bar Association (SCBA) Supreme Court, whether the deviation from the party was an acceptable act in his opinion.

“Retirement is appropriate for anyone with a disability based on his or her conscience, but those who deviate from a refund should be severely punished,” the SCBA adviser replied,

Consequently, Judge Muneeb Akhtar stated that those who act in accordance with their conscience should refrain from wrongdoing. I will not use the word that is used by the public for transgressors.

Earlier in the day today, PML-Q’s lawyer Advocate Azhar Siddique told the court that the purpose of Article 63-A was to prevent lawmakers from deviating, adding that constitutional amendments could be made to curb the practice.

He recalled that the PTI legislators violated the party’s policy on April 16 and voted for Hamza Shehbaz to be elected as the new Prime Minister of Punjab, [in the Punjab Assembly].

The Chief Justice noted that the court could not comment on the alleged misconduct [taken up] by the Electoral Commission of Pakistan. “An issue pertaining to lawbreakers is still pending in the ECP.”

Read also: The ECP made a decision against the withdrawal of 20 PTI MNAs, dismissing the references against them.

Siddique responded by stating that his case had nothing to do with disenfranchisement and was “about broad daylight”.

Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel said the matter should be considered by the ECP, which added an appeal against the decision of the electoral commission would eventually reach a higher court.

Advocate Siddique told the court that the word “ineligible” instead of “abstinence” was used in India for renegade lawmakers.

Meanwhile, CJP Bandial noted that a resolution of the no-confidence motion was tabled in parliament on March 28, noting that a debate should have been held on the grounds of submission of the motion by March 31.

“We must uphold the Constitution and that is why we have heard the reference to Article 63-A interpretation.”

Justice Akhtar stated that Article 63-A may be read in conjunction with Article 17 (2), which deals with freedom of association and that political parties have rights under it.

Article 17 (2) reads: “Every citizen, non-Pakistani, shall have the right to form and to join a political party, subject to any reasonable restrictions provided by law for the purpose of sovereignty or integrity. of Pakistan and this law shall provide that where the Federal Government declares that any political party has been established or operates in a manner that disregards the sovereignty or dignity of Pakistan, the Federal Government shall, within 15 days of that declaration, pass this matter. In the Supreme Court his decision in this regard will be final. “

As the process progressed, the court again sought the assistance of Pakistan’s Attorney General, Advocate Ashtar Ausaf Ali, who assured the court that it would present its case in the case on Tuesday (17 May).

The chief justice asked the AGP to interpret Article 63-A in a way that would bring “political and legal stability”.

Ausaf responded that the court hearing would determine one direction or another.

The CJP considered it necessary for the head of the group to take action against a defective member or not.

Justice Akhtar said another view was that the vote of the outgoing member should not be counted.

He said the discipline of political parties was essential to the parliamentary administration.

“There is a lot of instability, pressure and instability in our political system,” the CJP said, adding “we are here to resolve internal party conflicts.”

Advocate for the Supreme Court of Attorneys, Attorney Mansoor Awan, said the Constitution gives legislators the right to vote according to their conscience.

“If we accept your argument, where will the political parties stand?” asked Justice Akhtar, who felt that the whole process would “collapse” if Awan’s argument was accepted.

The CJP recalled that the legislature wanted to strengthen the process in the 1973 Constitution. “In 1985, Article 96 was repealed, while the same year’s election was held impartially.”

He further added that the Supreme Court had ruled in 1989 that elections should be held as a party and that political parties had rights. “Subsequently, Article 63-A is added to the Constitution.”

This time, Justice Bandial wondered if Article 63-A was just a “show” article.

Justice Mandokhel said the Constitution also provides for freedom of expression “while demanding an extension of the sentence for sedition”.

The trial was adjourned until Monday (March 16).

Article 63-A

In terms of Article 63-A of the Constitution, parliament may be barred on the grounds of treason if “a vote or refusal to vote in the House against any directive issued by a parliamentary party, in relation to an election of Parliament; the prime minister or prime minister; the draft Constitution (amendment).

The article states that the head of the group must declare in writing that the MNA is affected but before issuing the declaration, the party head will “give such a member an opportunity to show why the declaration may not be made to him”.

After giving the member the opportunity to state their reasons, the party leader will forward the notice to the speaker, who will forward it to the Chief Electoral Commissioner (CEC). The CEC will have 30 days to verify the declaration. If approved by the CEC, a member “shall cease to be a member of the House and his or her seat shall be vacant”.

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