SC resumes hearing of SIC plea against denial of reserved seats


SC SIC case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday resumed hearing a plea petition of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), the new home of PTI-backed candidates, against the denial of reserved seats in assemblies for women and minorities.

A 13-member full court, comprising Justices Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Munib Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, Aminuddin Khan, Mandokhail, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha Malik, Athar Minallah, Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Shahid Waheed, Irfan Saadat Khan and Naeem Akhtar Afghan, has resumed hearing the case.

Justice Musarrat Halali is not part of the SC bench due to illness.

The SIC had challenged in the apex court the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) and the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) verdicts in the case.

SIC’s lawyer Faisal Siddiqui will continue to give his arguments in the case. 

In its reply submitted to the SC, the ECP has stated that the SIC is no longer entitled to the reserved seats.

It reiterated that the SIC’s eligibility was compromised on several grounds.

As the hearing began on Monday, Justice Jamal Mandokhel of the Supreme Court (SC) asked how a political party that did not contest the general elections could be allotted reserved seats.   

During the hearing of Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) appeal against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) verdicts in the reserved seats case, the party’s lawyer Faisal Siddiqui gave references of article 51 and article 106 of the constitution.

Siddiqui argued that an independent candidate after getting elected could join any political party. He opined that the ECP’s definition of a political party was wrong. “The election commission made a wrong interpretation of the constitution while giving the decision in the case,” the SIC lawyer said.

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The chief justice asked Siddiqui to make a correct interpretation of the constitution if he thought that the interpretation done by the ECP was ‘flawed’. “Leave the election commission. Please go ahead with your arguments,” the CJP asked the SIC’s lawyer. “Tell me how SIC could be allotted seats in the light of the constitution,” he asked.

Justice Mandokhel said that the legislators getting elected as independent candidates could join any party that had contested the general elections. “The reason why MNAs of a party are in the assembly is because their party has contested the elections,” the judge said, adding, “How come a party that did not contest the elections could be given reserved seats.”

In its reply submitted to the SC a day ago, the ECP has stated that the SIC is no longer entitled to the reserved seats.

It reiterated that the SIC’s eligibility was compromised on several grounds.

The case’s hearing will continue for the next two days, while no other case will be heard today. 

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