ECP moves top court against PHC ruling on RO suspension

ECP moves top court against PHC ruling on RO suspension

People who work for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took the Peshawar High Court’s decision to put on hold their order about choosing a returning officer (RO) for a provincial assembly district to the Supreme Court.

Irfanullah was made RO for the PK-91 Kohat II district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The appeal was made by lawyer Afnan Karim Kundi on behalf of the electoral body under Article 185(3) of the Constitution. It was against a decision made by the PHC on December 27, as carried by The News on Friday.

The complainants gave the PHC the notification from December 25. The Election Commission then replaced the returning officer for the KP district. The court then put a hold on the notification while sending notice to the ECP.

As part of its appeal, the ECP asked if the high court’s decision went against the constitutional and legal duties of the ECP when it came to appointing ROs under Article 218(3) and Section 51 of the Elections Act 2017. If so, the ECP said that the suspension of the December 25, 2023, notification substituting the RO could not be given as an interim measure.

Section 236 of the Elections Act, 2017 says that courts can’t do what they’re supposed to do. The ECP asked if this meant that the high court’s order could be thrown out because it was preventing the election process from happening.

It was unclear to the ECP whether the high court could stop the ECP notification without first telling the ECP and giving them a chance to explain that there was a good reason for replacing the originally notified returning officer with another official, which was medical.


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