The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has challenged lifetime disqualification of lawmakers under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution, pleading to the apex court that the constitutional provision did not entail a perpetual bar.
Filed by SCBA President Ahsan Bhoon, the petition stated that the disqualification under Article 62 (1)(f) should be applied in cases of election dispute. It added that the Supreme Court could not proceed as a trial court under the powers of Article 184(3).
It requested the top court to declare that the proceedings and declarations under Articles 184(3) or 199 of the Constitution did not constitute declarations by a court of law, as per the principles expounded by this court.
The Supreme Court, while acting pursuant to Article 184(3) of the Constitution, â€œexercises extraordinary and original constitutional jurisdiction,â€ the petition said, adding that it did not act as a trial court where the person â€œis afforded the right to lead evidence, produce witnesses, cross-examine the other sideâ€™s witnesses and so onâ€.
â€œTherefore, this Honourable Court or the Honourable High Courts, exercising jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution, do not qualify as the â€˜courts of lawâ€™ who may give declarations under Article 62(1)(f),â€ the petition stated.
It is also stated that in addition to the failure to provide an opportunity for cross- examination, proceedings under Article 184(3) were â€œadditionally violative of the principles of due processâ€ and the right to a fair trial, as they precluded the possibility of any kind of appeal.
â€œWhile it may indeed be true that the legislature did not envisage an appeal in proceedings under Article 184(3), this Honourable Courtâ€™s judgments on the nature of a court under Article 62(1)(f), and the resultant jurisprudence that has been established since, requires harmonization,â€ the petition said.
â€œMore specifically, if the legislature intended that a court under Article 62(1)(f) provide a fair opportunity of vindication to a person, and also that proceedings under Article 184(3) be conducted sans the right to an appeal, then the two cannot be reconciled in a single case and at the same forum.â€