Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Sunday said that it is not their choice but a duty to ensure election within 90 days following the dissolution of the legislature since it is mandated by the Constitution.
While Addressing a conference on minority rights in Lahore, the chief justice also paid tribute to former top judge Justice Alvin Robert Cornelius.
Also Read: ECP challenges the Supreme Court verdict claiming that Judiciary have no Right to fix the Elections date
Late Justice Cornelius from the minority Christian community served as the country’s chief justice from 1960 until 1968.
The chief justice said that the judges of the Supreme Court (SC) cannot “blink” their eyes when it comes to enforcement of Constitution.
“If the Constitution says 90 days for holding elections, it is our duty to implement it and not our choice,” CJP Bandial said, adding that the matter was being called a “controversy”.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial on Sunday said that the judges of the Supreme Court could not “blink” their eyes if the Constitution mandated polls within 90 days of an assembly’s dissolution, adding that it was their duty to say that.
The chief justice further said that the Supreme Court and its judges had no existence individually but “as a unit and as a constitutional organ and that is how we function”.
“If a review is filed then it will be heard because no judgement is binding unless it becomes final. But if a judgement is not challenged then it becomes final so let’s see what happens now,” the chief justice added.
The top judge said the leaders, institutions and people of the country are determined to uphold the Constitution and added that political leaders were holding negotiations in this regard in a bid to break stalemate over holding elections in the country on the same day.
“Pakistan has been bearing the brunt of terrorism for decades, and has lost over 80,000 lives because of it,” he added.
Referring to the negotiations between the government and the PTI, he said the apex court was informed that they had not concluded yet. “We have nothing to do with that but at least they are conscious that they have a duty to comply [with] the Constitution,” he added.
Last month on 5th April Supreme court three-member bench heading by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — announced the reserved verdict on the PTI’s petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s order postponing the elections in Punjab and KP.
The Supreme Court declared the ECP’s order postponing the provincial assembly elections until October 8 as “unconstitutional” and ordered the government to release Rs21 billion funds for elections in Punjab by April 10.
The top court also directed to conduct Punjab polls on May 14. Supreme Court also directed Pak Army to provide security for the upcoming elections and also orders to ECP to hold elections by 14th March.
However, the National Assembly later passed a resolution rejecting the three-member Supreme Court bench’s verdict on the Punjab polls, stating that it would not provide funds to the ECP for polls.
The electoral watch dog informed the Top court that it had not received the required funds from the ministry after which the three-member bench directed the State bank to release funds “directly”.
Earlier in Federal Meeting The deputy governor SBP Seema Kamil said they have allocated Rs.21 billion for the Punjab elections as per the Supreme Court’s ruling, but the central bank does not has the authority to release the funds directly.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha emphasised that the SBP cannot spend money without the permission of the parliament.
“If the National Assembly allows funds can be released [to the ECP],” she said, clarifying that even the Finance Division cannot spend without seeking permission from the cabinet and the lower house.
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