In a creditable move the Supreme Court, has allowed for a compromise on the ensuing debate over the nomination forms, making it mandatory for all candidates contesting in the upcoming general elections to submit an affidavit disclosing the information omitted in the new forms.

Where previously the apex court had suspended the Lahore High Court (LHC) ruling ordering the revision of the nomination forms, upholding the nomination papers approved by the parliament via Elections Act 2017 and staving off any delay in election polls, the fact remained that the 2018 nomination forms were an anomaly from preceding years that could compromise the transparency of the elections.

The disputed forms did not enlist essential information regarding candidates including imperative details liable to misrepresentation like admission of dual nationality, tax returns, declarations pertaining to election expenses or defaults in loan or government dues by dependents.

The CJPs stance is an even-handed ruling that reconciles the imperiousness of the elections being held on June 25th with addressing the pointed obscurity in the due disclosure and viability of the candidates. With the preceding judio-political climate setting an unassailable decree for candidates being tried under the Constitutionally defined criteria of honesty, the larger question remains whether it be anticipated that the current election will be dominated by the rhetoric of stringent adherence to Article 62/63? Where the CJP has declared the need for ‘completely clean people’ contesting in the elections, warning of contempt proceedings ensuing any misdeclarations, the question still remains that if any misinformation is flagged, should the transgressor be tried just as vociferously under the prescription of the injunctions? The fact remains that the nebulous parameters of the Article 62/63 are predisposed to legal obscurities which will need to be defined as transgressions are presented in the course of this appraisal, for it is questionable whether any of the candidates sport an unblemished political career. Maintaining an equitable approach will prove challenging, and might just add to the hubbub of the electoral process.

The current ruling equates a much needed rigidity in meeting the constitutional obligation under Article 224 of the Constitution of holding elections within 60 days, with an eye towards a clean and untainted election process. Where any further delays will cast confusion and an inversion of the democratic process, polarizing the federation and the provinces, the caretaker establishment along with the chastising hand of the judiciary should be careful lest it walks into a quagmire of court proceedings without a calibration of what can be defined as a ‘clean candidate’.