Senate Polls 2021: SC To Hear Reference Seeking Open Ballot Voting

The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday will hear the presidential reference today, seeking guidance on holding the upcoming Senate polls through the open ballot.

According to the details, a five-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (JCP) Gulzar Ahmed and comprising justices Mushir Alam, Umar Ata Bandial, Ijaz ul Ahsan and Yahya Afridi, will take up the reference.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal government filed a presidential reference to the top court that sought guidance about holding the upcoming Senate polls through a show of hands, rather than through secret balloting.

Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan filed the reference under Article 186 of the Constitution, invoking the court’s advisory jurisdiction.

The government has also sought guidance from the Supreme Court if the issue can be decided without amending the constitution and introducing an amendment in section 122 (vi) of the Election Act 2017.

The bench will hear the reference at 1 pm.

Article 226

The reference seeks an interpretation of Article 226 that says all elections under the Constitution, other than those of the prime minister and chief ministers, shall be held through a secret ballot.

The article says the interpretation of the Constitution and law is the exclusive domain of the judiciary with the Supreme Court as the final court.

Senate Elections 2021

The 2021 Pakistani Senate election will be held on or before 6 March 2021.

52 of the 104 Senators will be retiring on 5 March 2021. After the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA seats were abolished and there will be no election on 4 of the 8 seats. The rest of the 4 seats will also not be renewed in 2024.

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