Ordinance was passed on Feb 6
The Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Pakistan has challenged the presidential ordinance on holding Senate elections through open ballots.
A petition was submitted in the Supreme Court by Advocate Jahangir Jadoon on Monday.
The ordinance, called the Elections (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, allows the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to show the ballot cast by any lawmaker to the heads of the party on their requests. It was passed on February 6.
The petition says that the Supreme Court should take notice of the ordinance as it undermines the judicial proceedings on a pending matter before the Honourable Court as well as the sovereignty of Parliament and supremacy of the Constitution.
“By issuing the Election (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, the president “tried to take away or abridge the power of the Election Commission of Pakistan which is against Article 222 of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973,” it reads.
It adds that it should be declared “illogical, irrational, ultra vires to the Constitution, void and having no effect on Senate election in the interest of justice”.
Senate elections are held every three years and only the commission has the authority to organise them. The process is, however, spread over phases and takes roughly a month to conclude.
Previously, the votes were cast in secret because of which the PTI claimed that the votes of senators were being bought. In December 2020, the federal government decided to hold the Senate election through a show of hands. The opposition members criticised this decision.
Half of Senate members will retire on March 11, 2021 after completing their term, according to the ECP. The commission pointed out that under Article 224(3) of the Constitution, the elections “shall be held not earlier than 30 days immediately preceding the day on which the vacancies are due to occur”.
Ordinances are laws that are passed by the country’s president.
Article 89 of the Constitution gives the country’s president the right to “promulgate an ordinance” when the Senate or National Assembly are not in session. The law states that an ordinance can only be passed it becomes necessary to take “immediate action”.
The ordinances are enforced for a period of 120 days and are later extended by the National Assembly.