ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to 26 political parties on a petition seeking cut in election expenditure and directed them to submit the replies by February 29th.

Regarding the candidates elected in by-polls conducted by Election Commissioner instead of Election Commission of Pakistan, the court observed that as the matter of 20th Amendment is under process, therefore, the court would decide about the issue after receiving the final gazette on February 29th, 2012.

The Supreme Court on February 6th, 2012, suspended the membership of 28 parliamentarians, elected in the by-polls conducted by the Election Commissioner instead of Election Commission constituted under 18th Amendment.

Abid Hassan Manto, counsel for Workers Party which moved the petition against parties expenditures in elections, argued that he has submitted the amended petition. He made 26 political parties including PPP, Muslim League-Nawaz, Muslim League-Quaid, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam and Awami National Party as respondents in his petition.

During the proceedings, the leaders of some of the parties were present in the court.

Haji Adeel central leader of ANP, who was present in the court, informed the bench that he would raise the issue in the Central Committee of the party, which would decide about it so he needed some time.

Central Secretary Parliamentary Affairs Saifullah Gondal said that he received the notice on Monday ,therefore, could not prepare the reply. He also sought time to file reply. The bench again issued notices to the all parties and directed to file reply in the next date of hearing. Justice Tariq Pervez remarked that a system should be devised so that an ordinary person could also contest the elections but in the present system it is not possible.

Instead of Joint Secretary of Election Commission of Pakistan, an officer of the ECP appeared before the bench.

He stated to the court that Joint Secretary is busy in a meeting and could not come. Justice Tariq expressing annoyance said it’s a joke with the court as instead of appearing before the court the Joint Secretary is busy in a meeting.

He directed that when a case is fixed in the court then there should no meetings.

Naseer Bhutta advocate, appeared on behalf of some candidates, who were declared successful when the Election Commission was incomplete.

He informed the court that both the Houses of the Parliament have passed the 20th Amendment and now it would be sent to the President for signature.

After the President’s approval it would become an act.

The bench observed that as the matter is under-process and the court would pass any judgment after seeing the final notice.

The case was also adjourned till February 29th, 2012.