LAHORE - The Lahore High Court Tuesday issued notice to federal government and ECP on a petition challenging a provision of the Election Act 2017 that paved way for Nawaz Sharif’s election as PML-N president after his disqualification.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the petition moved by SCBA Bar Secretary Aftab Ahmad Bajwa. The court put off the proceedings until November 16. Bajwa said that disqualification recorded by a court of law under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot be surpassed by sub-constitutional law.  He said ruling party bypassed the doctrine of basic structure and other constitutional interpretations, which left the parliament powerless while all the laws relating to elections could not be articulated through a single legislation.

The bar secretary pleaded that a provision in a democratic form of a government cannot lay down unlimited rights in view of Article 17, whereby it was clearly mentioned that every person has a right to form a political party subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law, such right cannot be already granted or taken away by repealing Political Parties Order, 2002.

He submitted that no such provision could be made to favour just a political party while all the opposition parties had also showed their reservations regarding deletion of the conditions of disqualification and such legislation can be made operative through any procedure of law.

The petitioner prayed the court to declare election of Nawaz Sharif as head of political party unlawful and unconstitutional after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court under Article 62(1) (f) of the Constitution. He also prayed the court to also declare his party members as illegal and unlawful.  He further prayed the court to set aside sections 203 and 232 of the Election Act, 2017 for being unconstitutional, mala fide, void ab-initio and of no legal effect.

Dismissed

The Lahore High Court on Tuesday turned down a petition challenging Tax Amnesty Scheme passed by the parliament in 2016 especially for the traders’ class in the country.

Justice Shahid Jamil Khan passed the order holding that “Tax amnesty scheme is not discriminatory,”.  The Judge also held that this scheme was introduced as a reformist measure to extend tax net.

Sheraz Zaka, a local lawyer, had challenged the scheme terming it ‘discriminatory’ for many other communities beside the traders’ community. He said the parliament approved this scheme but it was discriminatory as it only gave exemption to the traders from audit as well as from filing wealth statement till 2018.  The traders, he said, were exempted from paying taxes for the past ten years and many other communities were burdened with the tax payment. The lawyer said Federal Board of Revenue and other stake holders had given cushion to the traders instead of introducing structural reforms. Being a lawyer, the petitioner also pleaded that this facility should also be extended to the lawyers and doctors.  The scheme in question, he had argued, had provided a cover to the traders to convert their black money into white. The lawyer pleaded the court to initiate criminal proceedings against those traders who do not pay tax and set aside the scheme for being unconstitutional.  The law officers who appeared on behalf of Federal Board of Revenue and federal government opposed the petition saying that the amnesty scheme was introduced especially for the traders in order to widen tax net and was a step towards reforms.

After hearing both sides, Justice Karim announced the verdict he had reserved on Oct 19.