ISLAMABAD:The Supreme Court on Friday in its landmark judgment ruled that disqualification of a lawmaker under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution would be for lifetime.
Justice Umar Ata Bandyal read out the five-member bench led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar’s 60 pages verdict in the cases involving interpretation / determination of the question of temporary or permanent bar to contest elections.
The judment stated that “a person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law,” reads Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of Pakistan”.
The five-member bench unanimously observed that such a restriction would be fair in a democratic set up. “The disqualification will hold as long as the declaratory judgment supporting the conclusion of one of the delinquent kinds of conduct under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution remains in effect”, read the judgment.
“The absence of a time limit for the ineligibility of a candidate for election in Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution is the basis for holding his incapacity to be incurable by efflux of time, the reasons recorded in our judgment reinforce that conclusion” verdict added.
“Some of the counsels expressed concern over lifetime disqualification and worry that this may be disproportionate and a little harsh, however
such arguments are perhaps more suitable to the floor of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) than at the bar before this Court, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said in his additional note.
“It is an equally elemental principle of interpretation of the Constitution that nothing can be added thereto, therefore, we (SC) cannot read into Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, a period of such lack of qualification, which is not mentioned therein,”.
He said that the Constitution had empowered this court to interpret the Constitution or law but not to amend it. “This aspect of the matter is rather ironic as several persons before us were or had been the Members of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) at some point of time and may have passed the amendments, which now stand in their way.” judgment stated.
The top court in its July 28 ruling of last year had disqualified Nawaz Sharif as president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen was disqualified under Articles 62 of the constitution.
A five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, reserved the verdict in all 13 appeals against the disqualification of lawmakers.
On February 14, the apex court had reserved its verdict in the case regarding duration of the disqualification of the members of the parliament incurred under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. The verdict was reserved after Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf completed his arguments.
The Supreme Court on July 28, 2017 had disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in a landmark decision on the Panama Papers case.