February, 23, 2024
Time
Justice Debates Lifelong Disqualification

Justice Debates Lifelong Disqualification

Maul Haq added new clauses in Article 62, and the judiciary has filled the gap in the constitution since the disqualification period is not explicitly mentioned. The court will make a decision on the case by January 11. Justice Faiz determines the duration of each sentence. How did disqualification become lifelong? Why does the matter not conclude once the punishment is administered? Justice Mansoor questions whether an individual can swear to his character.

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Supreme Court Deliberates Justice: Lifelong Disqualification in Constitutional Crossroads

During the hearing of a case on the judicial decision of life imprisonment under Article 62 One F and the contradiction in the Election Act, the Supreme Court remarked that crimes such as murder and high treason disqualify a person for five years, while a person with presumptive morals faces lifelong disqualification. A graduation condition was imposed based on the candidate’s significance; if the candidate had been Prime Minister in 2002, they would have been ineligible. The court emphasized that its stance should not be misconstrued as favoring any particular party; it aims to address a constitutional issue definitively.

Does legislation or constitutional amendment have the power to overturn a judicial decision interpreting a provision of the Constitution? A 7-judge bench, led by the Chief Justice, heard the case. The Attorney General, at the outset, requested a review of the court’s decision on lifelong disqualification, expressing support for legislation to extend the disqualification period to 5 years under the Election Act, a federal law. The Chief Justice asked the petitioner if anyone had challenged the Election Act 2017 in court, and the petitioner confirmed that no such challenge had been made. Provincial advocate generals stated that all provincial governments support the Election Act 2017.

Justice Debates Lifelong Disqualification
Chief Justice highlighted the similarity in language between Article 62 One and Article 63 One G.

Constitutional Challenges and Disqualification Dilemmas in Judiciary

The Attorney General cited constitutional provisions related to validity and disqualification. Emphasizing the consideration of both Articles 62 and 63 when filing nomination papers. The Chief Justice highlighted the challenge of determining good conduct and questioned the feasibility of such a test. He also raised concerns about the court giving a decree without a trial. Questioning whether it falls under the jurisdiction of the Civil Court or the Constitutional Court. The Chief Justice noted that no one had challenged the Election Act amendment and remarked that the court introduced a limitation period. Although Article 62 does not specify one.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah questioned if regular legislation could change the Constitution. Whether the disqualification period in the Election Act would override the constitutional concept. The Chief Justice clarified that the constitution did not specify the disqualification period, and the courts addressed this gap. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah pondered the appropriateness of a lifelong ban for minor grounds compared to the eligibility for serious crimes after a certain period.

Constitutional Debate: Lifelong Disqualification and Judicial Dilemma

Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar pointed out that Article 62 one of the constitution does not mention a specific term. The Attorney General argued that the court had established the lifelong disqualification in its decision as long as there is a judicial ruling. The discussion persisted on the potential for changing the Constitution through daily legislation. Also, stakeholders expressed concerns about the court actively determining a person’s honesty and integrity.

The Chief Justice highlighted the similarity in language between Article 62 One and Article 63 One G. The Attorney General discussed the possibility that a person could return after serving a 20-year sentence but would remain disqualified if a decree were issued. The discussion extended to the origin of Articles 62 and 63, with mention of Zia-ul-Haq’s role in adding these clauses. The court adjourned the hearing until the next day, with the decision expected by January 11.

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