Supreme Court to protect constitutional institutions, observes CJP BandialBreaking

March 22, 2023

The Supreme Court disposed of the application against the transfer of former Lahore CCPO Ghulam Mehmood Dogar as the applicant withdrew his plaint. A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial, and included Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, heard the petition.

Election Commission (ECP) counsel Abid Zuberi told the court that the election schedule has been released after the establishment of caretaker government, it is our responsibility to conduct fair and transparent elections under Article 218. The ECP has the power to reshuffle bureaucracy to give a level playing field to contestants. The government can transfer an officer with the approval of the ECP, he added.

Justice Yahya Afridi inquired as to when the ECP can use the authority of transfer and posting. The ECP counsel submitted that under Article 218, it can transfer an officer. Chief Justice Bandial remarked that it has been proven that the caretaker government can transfer officers in consultation with the ECP. Can ECP itself recommend to the caretaker government to transfer officers?

Justice Afridi then questioned when the ECP gave approval of the transfer of CCPO Dogar. The counsel submitted that the ECP gave verbal approval to the caretaker government for the transfer of CCPO on January 23. The caretaker government took a policy decision to reshuffle the bureaucracy for transparent election and the ECP approved the decision.

Chief Justice Bandial remarked that the ECP has very broad authority. All political parties should have an equal opportunity in the election. The ECP should not give authority to transfer officers to the caretaker government. The caretaker government should consult the ECP regarding such transfers.

The chief justice observed that the ECP is a constitutional body and court will protect it. It has powers under the Constitution to conduct transparent elections. If there is malpractice in transparent elections, the Supreme Court will intervene. Chief Justice Bandial remarked that the Supreme Court is a constitutional institution that is being defamed through audio tapes. Such tapes and tactics have no significance. “We will protect constitutional institutions patiently. We are showing patience and tolerance on these tapes,” he added. Later, Advocate Zuberi withdrew his application.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-INP