Vote of defected lawmakers not to be counted, announces Supreme Court

Apex court announces much awaited verdict in presidential reference on Article 63-A

06:00 PM | 17 May, 2022
Vote of defected lawmakers not to be counted, announces Supreme Court
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ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court has announcing its verdict on the presidential reference for the interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution, ruling that vote of defected lawmakers will not be counted.

The larger bench led by CJP ruled that the dissident MPs cannot cast their votes against their party orders.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Munib Akhtar agreed that dissident members' votes should not be counted, while Justice Jamal Mandokhail and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel wrote dissent notes.

The court said that Article 63-A could not be read separately and also talks about the rights of the political parties, which provide the base for the political statement.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, completed proceedings of the case today.

The country's top court also dismissed the request of the Attorney General to send back the reference while declaring it not maintainable.

It earlier reserved judgment on the presidential reference, seeking interpretation of Article 63 (A) of the Constitution.

A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial today completed hearing into the reference filed affsd a number of PTI leaders defected the party in March, around three weeks before the National Assembly vote on Opposition’s no-confidence motion against former Prime Minister Imran Khan. 

On March 21, former attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan submitted the reference, apprising the court that the then PTI-led federal government had filed a reference to seek the opinion of the top court in the presidential reference under the jurisdiction of the Constitution’s Article 186.

The PTI government had sought Supreme Court’s assistance in voting of dissent members, who opposed the party policy, in a no-trust motion.

The PTI government had pleaded for lifetime disqualification of rebel lawmakers, saying it is imperative for a transparent democracy as disqualification of merely a few days is not enough to deter members from dissenting.  

It had maintained that a member who got elected on a party’s manifesto damages the trust of the people through open dissent ahead of no trust while it also added that of a member wishes to make a conscientious decision, they should step down from the assembly and get re-elected. 

It is recalled that former PM Imran Khan was dismissed from office through a no-confidence vote on April 10 after he lost several party lawmakers and coalition partners. 

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