Voting is individual right of MNAs, says SCBA


Supreme Court of Pakistan. Photo: Supreme Court website
Supreme Court of Pakistan. Photo: Supreme Court website
  • SCBA and JUI submit response in apex court over reference on Article 63A.
  • SCBA says MNAs are independent in using their right to vote.
  • JUI declares Article 63A “undemocratic”.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has declared the MNAs’ right to vote for the no-confidence motion against the prime minister to be an individual capacity in its response over the presidential reference for the interpretation on Article 63A of the Constitution Pakistan.

The apex court will hear the presidential reference on Article 63A filed by the government, today.

All the ways leading to Red Zone, including D-Chowk, Serena Chowk, NADRA Chowk and Merit Chowk have been barricaded with heavy police deployment to completely seal the area for the hearing of the presidential reference in the apex court today. 

Moreover, police personnel is also deputed in and outside the court with water cannons present nearby.

As a result, the petitioners out to visit SC and Secretariat faced extreme inconvenience as only Margala Road was open.

The SCBA submitted its response in the Supreme Court on Thursday, stating that voting is an individual right of an MNA instead of a political party’s collective right under Article 95.

“Every MNA is independent in using their right to vote and there is no disqualification over voting against party policy in Article 63A.”

“No MNA can be restrained from voting under Article 63A and every vote cast under Article 95 is counted,” SCBA said, adding that the public runs the government system through their elected representatives.

‘Article 63A undemocratic’

Meanwhile, JUI-F also submitted its reply over the reference, declaring Article 63A “undemocratic”.

“Disqualification on voting against party policy would further weaken the already fragile democracy.”

JUI said that the article in question obliges the MNAs — who got elected as independent candidates — to follow a political party if they join it after winning.

“The reference seems to imply that the prime minister, president and NA speaker have always been Sadiq and Amin (honest and trustworthy) and will always remain so.”

Moreover, the JUI said that “it is not necessary that the opinion on the reference is given before polling for the vote of no confidence as the matter will eventually end up in the apex court if a disqualification case is filed against an MNA.”

It said that SC’s opinion before the voting would make the forum of the Election Commission of Pakistan ineffective.

The response further stated said that PTI is being run by “selected officials” since there hasn’t been party election in a while.

“The selected officials cannot direct the MNAs to vote or not to vote under Article63A,” JUI’s reply said.

It said that the National Assembly speaker cannot be given the authority to discard the MNAs’ votes therefore the court should refrain from ending the supremacy of the Parliament.

‘Premature and unnecessary move’: PML-N

Meanwhile, PML-N said in its response submitted in the SC that Article 63A and Article 95 are clear and every lawmaker has the right to vote.

The party seconded JUI’s argument that the vote of every MNA will be counted and that filing of the presidential reference is a premature and unnecessary move.

Moreover, the response documented by PML-N’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan, said that the apex court “has the authority to interpret the Constitution but not to amend it.”

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