LAHORE: In order to prevent floor-crossing and vote buying, the Lahore High Court has been ordered to strike down the system of secret balloting for the Senate race.
In a written petition submitted by Advocate Azhar Siddique, Munir Ahmad, a lawyer by profession, also assaults the vires of section 122(6) of the Election Act 2017 for being in violation of sections 222 and 226 of the Constitution.
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According to the petitioner, Article 226 limits secret balloting only to certain elections conducted under the Constitution, which include elections for the office of President, for speakers and deputy speakers of national and regional legislatures, and for the election of the President and deputy chairman of the Senate.
It states that, as provided for in Article 226, the appointment of members of the Senate does not fall under the definition of election. The vote should then be held, he claims, by an open ballot.
The complainant argues that, sadly, the framer of the Constitution left a variety of questions available for parliament to resolve by legislative laws, and parliament must confine itself to making things clear, based on merit, and to creating a mechanism free of rigging and manipulation.
He believes that a door for coercion and unethical practises has been opened prima facie by adding the words “secret balloting” in section 122 of the Election Act and taking undue advantage of the members, so that this clause is null and void in the eye of law and has at the same time violated constitutional provisions.
In order to discourage floor-crossing, the use of stolen and laundered money for vote-buying in Senate elections, the petitioner asks the court to authorise the appeal and strike down the method of secret voting.
The lawyer also advises the court to set aside section 122(6) of the Elections Act 2017 in the name of the public, justice, equality and fair play as ultra vires to articles 222 & 226 of the Constitution.