The Supreme Court of Pakistan announced its reserved opinion on open balloting for Senate elections on Monday.
The top court ruled out that the Senate elections to be held through secret ballot under Article 226 of the Constitution but secrecy not absolute.
“It is the duty of the Election Commission of Pakistan in terms of Article 218(3) of the Constitution, to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law and that corrupt practices are guarded against,” the opinion stated.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan is required by the Constitution to take all necessary steps in order to fulfill the above mandate/duty in terms of Article 222 of the Constitution,” it added.
The top court in its decision clarified that “all the executive authorities in the Federation and Provinces are obliged to assist the Commissioner and the Election Commission of Pakistan in the discharge of his or their functions.”
Furthermore, the SC said that the Election Commission also has to take all available measures, including “utilizing technologies to fulfill the solemn constitutional duty to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law and that corrupt practices are guarded against.”
A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justices Mushir Alam, Umar Ata Bandial, Ijazul Ahsan, and Yahya Afridi, announced the reserved opinion in Courtroom No 1 of the Supreme Court with the 4-1 majority opinion.
Justice Yahya Afridi disagreed with the majority opinion.