Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, and other party leaders including Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry on a petition filed by the electoral body.
A three-member bench of SC comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ayesha A Malik, and Justice Athar Minallah heard the case on the petition of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking merger of all cases filed by PTI leaders against the body in different high courts after the leaders were served contempt notices.
During the proceeding, the bench remarked that the commission requested to transfer the cases pending in different high courts, contending whether it would prepare for local and general elections or fight cases in different courts.
CJP said the commission also presented a judicial precedent of merging cases with the order of the SC. The commission is referencing Article 186A of the Constitution for the purpose, he added.
“Was there an example of a Supreme Court verdict to merge cases of different high courts?” he questioned.
The ECP counsel responded that the apex court ordered the consolidation of income tax cases pending in various high courts in 1999.
Over this, CJP said that clubbing of cases pending in different high courts must have the same point of law.
He asked who were the petitioners in contempt cases in the high courts. The counsel replied that Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar had filed cases against the ECP in the different high courts.
Justice Ayesha said that the Supreme Court in PEMRA cases had declared that the cases pending in high courts would not be clubbed.
Justice Minallah said that the Supreme Court had clubbed all the cases of the high courts in Hajj assistants case.
The ECP counsel argued that cases of the same nature would have conflicting judgments in different high courts.
Justice Ayesha said that the apex court would decide when the conflicting decisions were challenged before it.
CJP asked under which constitutional authority did the Supreme Court order clubbing of cases pending in the different high courts.
The hearing of the case has been adjourned for two weeks.
ECP’s petition against PTI leaders
The ECP maintained in its petition that it had issued contempt notices to Imran Khan as well as other party leaders including Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry in the months of August and September. However, these notices were challenged in high courts.
The ECP noted that under Section 10 of the Election Act, 2017, it had the authority to initiate contempt proceedings being a constitutional body.
The commission further stated that Imran and Fawad had challenged the contempt notices before the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench while Asad Umar had challenged it before the Sindh High Court.
Another one was challenged before the Islamabad High Court.