ISLAMABAD: The seven member larger bench of the Supreme Court here Monday declared the condition of graduation for contesting assembly elections as void. In its order the Apex Court said that the provisions of Article 8A of the Conduct of General Election Order are declared to be void prospectively on account of their being inconsistent with Articles 17 and 25 of the Constitution.
In its verdict, the court maintained that the condition is against the provisions of the constitution and violation of basic rights. The Bench consisted of Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, Mr. Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar, Mr. Justice Ijaz-Ul-Hassan, Mr. Justice Mohammad Moosa K. Leghari, Mr. Justice Chaudhry Ejaz Yousaf, Mr. Justice Syed Sakhi Hussain Bukhari, and Mr. Justice Syed Zawwar Hussain Jaffery.
Earlier, Attorney General Malik Abdul Qayyum, in his arguments, said that stipulation of B.A. for contesting elections does not exist in any democratic country. He said it is against the democratic norms and therefore be repealed. Advocate Aslam Khaaqi said that only the Parliament has the authority to amend or repeal the graduation condition as it has the protection of the constitution.
Kamran Murtaza, Counsel for the petitioner Muhammad Nasir Mehmood, in his arguments, described the B.A. stipulation as unnecessary. He said every citizen has the basic right to contest the elections. Talking to media after the court verdict, Attorney General Malik Qayyum said under article seventeen of the constitution, every citizen has the right to contest the election. He said the unanimous verdict of the court will have far-reaching effects. He said the disqualification conditions of candidates have already been stated in the constitution and these are not challengeable. However, conditions to be imposed through other laws can be challenged in the court. Legal experts and leaders of the political parties have welcomed the decision.-SANA