ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan has been urged to declare Article 223(2) of the Constitution as ultra vires or alternatively ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to make a provision in the Election Act, 2017 that a person who wants to contest the election against more than one seat, shall deposit the amount of by-polls for such seats in advance. Muhammad Anwar Mughal filed a constitutional petition under Article 184(3) in December 2022 in the Supreme Court, but the SC Registrar’s office raised objections to it. The petitioner on Wednesday filed an appeal against the objections of the Registrar.
The petitioner has submitted that some politicians to show that they are popular with the masses, file nomination papers from 4 to 5 or more constituencies and even there are some politicians who have submitted their nomination papers for seats of the National as well as the Provincial Assemblies according to Article 223 of the Constitution. He said that according to Article 223(2) of the Constitution the candidates, who are elected from more than one seat, have to choose one seat and have to vacate other seats and thus the Election Commission has to conduct of a by-election to such seat according to Article 223(4) by spending a large amount from the public exchequer.
For the elections of such persons who are contesting the election in more than one seat and those who are not qualified, or have resigned from their seat, huge amount (around Rs80 to 90 million for one seat) is spent on by-elections , the petitioner added. He further said that Article 223(2) entitles candidates to contest elections in more than one seat, but it violates the fundamental rights of the general public as huge amount of money is spent on by-elections. He raised the question, whether the right of an individual is preferred over the rights of the general public, who live below the poverty line.
Hence Article 223(2) is ultra vires Article 8. Anwar Mughal said that in General Election 2018 PTI Chairman Imran Khan contested elections from five National Assembly (NA) seats, while Tahir Sadiq from two NA seats, Ghulam Sarwar from two NA seats , Pervaiz Elahi two NA and one PP seat, and Hamza Shehbaz Sharif one from NA and one PP seat.
He submitted that according to media reports Rs90 to 100 million is spent on holding elections of a National Assembly seat and half of it is required for a Provincial Assembly seat.