ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Saturday ruled that in order to prove rigging (in election), there has to be material on record to establish corrupt practices committed by a (winning) candidate.

“Section 55 of the Representation of the People Act, 19 76 requires that a precise statement of facts should be stated in the election petition with all material particulars with regard to the corrupt and illegal practices,” said a judgement authored by Justice Faisal Arab while disposing of an election plea filed by Saleem Ahmed Khosa, who lost NA-266 Nasirabad-cum-Jaffarabad seat to former prime minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali in 2013 general elections.

A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar reserved the judgment on February 22.

“ In the present case, however, only general allegations regarding rigging were made. The evidence produced was so deficient that it was not enough to establish corrupt or illegal practices,” the judgement said. Jamali had secured 41,706 votes while Khosa got 35,703 votes. Not satisfied with the result, Khosa had filed an election petition with the election tribunal-II, Quetta, accusing Jamali of resorting to corrupt and illegal practices.

The election tribunal, however, had dismissed the petition with the observation that the allegations made in the petition were of general nature and not substantiated by the evidence. Khosa had moved the apex court against the tribunal’s verdict.

Khosa had contended that of 380 polling stations in NA-266, rigging took place in 104 polling stations. He had claimed that in most polling stations his agents were not allowed to enter and an atmosphere of fear was created and bogus votes were cast in favour of Jamali. The court noted that no evidence was produced regarding the corrupt practices.

It further noted that besides the failure to file substantiated evidence of rigging on record the appellant also did not even place a comparative table of 104 disputed polling stations and the remaining 276 undisputed polling stations in order to point out a difference between them.