Article 254 of Constitution of Pakistan

Article 254 of Constitution of Pakistan

Posted on Mar 1, 2023

Failure to comply with requirement as to time does not render an act invalid.

254. When any act or thing is required by the Constitution to be done within a particular period and it is not done within that period, the doing of the act or thing shall not be invalid or other-wise ineffective by reason only that it was not done within that period.

Article 254

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Wednesday ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within 90 days

The Supreme Court (SC) has recently issued a split verdict of 3-2 following the hearing of a suo moto notice on Tuesday. CJP Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Munib Akhtar, and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar were in favor of the verdict, while Justice Jamal Mandokhail and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah opposed the admissibility of the notice and dissented from the majority verdict.

In their dissenting notes, Justice Shah and Justice Mandokhail agreed with the position of Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Athar Minallah. They stated that the Supreme Court cannot take a suo moto notice on the undertrial cases in the high courts since the matter was already being heard in the high courts.

The short verdict noted that the Election Commission of Pakistan did not discharge its role in the election. According to the verdict, the responsibility of announcing the election date in KP lies with the provincial governor, while the president has the authority, as per law and constitution, to fix the election date in Punjab.

The verdict highlighted that the announcement of the election in KP by the president was not appropriate, while he has the right to announce the election date in Punjab since the provincial assembly was dissolved after 48 hours, as the governor refused to agree on the CM's advice.

The verdict further mentioned that a consultation will be held to determine the date of elections in Punjab if they are not possible on April 9, the date announced by the president.

Article 254 of the constitution will be enforced if the elections are not held within the stipulated time,” the verdict said.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan recently split into a five-judge bench to hear a case regarding the delay in elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This followed President Arif Alvi's announcement of the date of polls, which drew criticism from the government. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial led the five-member bench, and the lawyers were commended for their assistance in the matter. The court had given PTI and the coalition government until 4pm to agree on election dates, but no agreement was reached. During the hearing, the Attorney General raised an objection on the Supreme Court Bar Association President's name being removed from the judicial order, which the Chief Justice remarked was not part of the order. The judges discussed the President's role in setting election dates and the requirement for consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan. The dissolution of the Punjab Assembly and the 90-day period after dissolution were also discussed. The judges concluded that the President is bound to take the Cabinet's advice and that the governor will give the date of the election while considering the Election Commission's decisions.

President Announces Date

President Dr Arif Alvi has announced April 9 as the date for holding general elections for the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies, in accordance with section 57(2) of the constitution. This decision was made after a letter was written to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sultan Sikandar Raja, where President Arif Alvi highlighted that the constitution does not allow exceeding 90 days for holding elections after the dissolution of assemblies.

The letter further states that the ECP and governors of KP and Punjab are not fulfilling their duties to hold elections within 90 days, and the president has announced an election date to avoid a violation of the constitution. President Arif Alvi emphasized that it is the ECP’s responsibility to hold the election within 90 days and he has initiated the process of serious consultation on the election date.

It is worth noting that the Punjab and KP assemblies were dissolved on Jan 18 and Jan 14, respectively, after former prime minister Imran Khan had announced to dissolve assemblies in an attempt to force the government to hold snap polls. According to the Constitution of Pakistan, elections must be held for the dissolved assemblies within 90 days.

In summary, President Arif Alvi has announced the election date for the Punjab and KP assemblies to avoid any violation of the constitution. The ECP has been urged to hold the election within 90 days as mandated by the constitution.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court has issued a split verdict regarding the suo moto notice. The verdict highlights the responsibility of announcing the election date in KP and Punjab and discusses the possibility of consultation to determine the date of elections in Punjab if they are not possible on April 9.


Junaid Ali

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