While challenging the legality of recently promulgated election ordinance on Thursday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Barrister Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha urged Islamabad High Court to restrain Election Commission of Pakistan from disbursing public funds for acquisition of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
On May 09, 2021, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated the Election (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 , amending Section 103 of the Elections Act 2017 that authorised the ECP to procure EVMs and enable the overseas Pakistanis to exercise their right to vote while staying in their country of residence in the next general elections.
Invoking jurisdiction of the court in the matter, counsel for the petitioner Advocate Umer Gilani made the president of Pakistan, federation of Pakistan through principal secretary to prime minister, federal law secretary, and ECP through its secretary as respondents.
The petitioner submitted that on May 9, 2021, news media reported that the president promulgated the Elections (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 saying, “Even though this ordinance is only a one-pager, it makes important legislative overhauls of the electoral procedure regime in Pakistan”.
The petitioner claimed, “Sadly, neither the people of Pakistan nor their elected representatives in Parliament were even allowed to know about this legislation ahead of its imposition”.
Barrister Ranjha urged the court to declare the promulgated Ordinance illegal, unconstitutional being ultra vires Article 89 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan alleging the ordinance promulgation as in a mala fide manner.
He submitted that the president’s power to promulgate ordinances can only be used to bring about such legislation which is necessary to enable the federal government to respond to an emergency situation such as war, famine, epidemic or rebellion which has put the life, liberty or property of the people of Pakistan at stake.
Barrister Ranjha further said president may promulgate ordinance in emergency which is being responded to arose after the prorogation of the last session of Parliament adding where waiting for the commencement of the next session of either house of Parliament would cause irreparable loss of life, liberty or property to the people of Pakistan.
The writer heads a leading news wire service ‘The Law Today Pakistan’ commonly known as TLTP. He has a special focus on news relating to superior courts adjudication, access to right of information, civil, political, social and economic rights under the approach that existing cyber regime realization ensures procedural fairness in administrative law. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org