SC abolishes lifetime disqualification of Parliamentarians

Islamabad: The Supreme Court on Monday nullified the lifetime disqualification of parliamentarians under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution with a 6-1 majority judgment.

The seven-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Amin ud Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Ali Mazhar and Justice Musarrat Hilali had reserved the verdict on January 5, which was announced today.

The seven-page written order read: “Article 62(1)(f) is not a self-executory provision as it does not by itself specify the court of law that is to make the declaration mentioned therein nor does it provide for any procedure for making, and any period for disqualification incurred by, such declaration.

“There is no law that provides for the procedure, process and the identification of the court of law for making the declaration mentioned in Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and the duration of such a declaration, for the purpose of disqualification thereunder, to meet the requirements of the fundamental right to a fair trial and due process guaranteed by Article 10A of the Constitution.

“The interpretation of Article 62(1)(f) in imposing a lifetime disqualification upon a person through an implied declaration of a court of civil jurisdiction while adjudicating upon some civil rights and obligations of the parties is beyond the scope of the said Article and amounts to reading into the Constitution.

“Such reading into the Constitution is also against the principle of harmonious interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution as it abridges the fundamental right of citizens to contest elections and vote for a candidate of their choice enshrined in Article 17 of the Constitution, in the absence of reasonable restrictions imposed by law.