SC admits petition against PHC CJ's suo motu powers
04 September, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Accepting PTI member's plea against the use of suo motu power by the Peshawar High Court (PHC) over the bar on women from casting votes in NA-5, Nowshehra during the by-elections, the Supreme Court has issued notices to all the respondents, including personal staff officer (PS) to PHC chief justice.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry heard the appeal filed by PTI member Dr Imran Khatak against PHC's suo motu notice of a ban on women voting in NA-5. During the hearing, Athar Minallah, counsel for the applicant, stated that the Peshawar High Court had taken suo motu over a complaint that women were not allowed to take part in the by-elections in NA-5. He, however, contended that under the Article 184(3) and 199, the high court had no jurisdiction to take suo motu on the issue.
Minallah maintained that if an aggrieved person had filed a petition in this regard the high court could take notice on the issue. Referring to NA-32, he questioned why had the PHC not taken notice in the case of Upper Dir where only one women had voted. The bench issued notices to the respondents and adjourned further hearing until September 10. On August 21, Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, by taking suo motu notice of ban on women voting in some constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had ordered to withhold results and arrest those behind the act.
Minallah argued that no one was aggrieved in the constituency and the high court should not have stopped the whole election process and the results should be announced. Giving example of NA-32, he stated that elections were not barred in NA-32 Upper Dir where only one woman cast her vote.