LHC orders re-counting of votes for Punjab CM election

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LHC accepted PTI petition which stated that Hamza’s election was ‘illegal’
LAHORE
The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered the recounting of votes for the election of the Punjab chief minister and said the votes of dissident lawmakers should be excluded from the count.
The PTI, in their writ petitions, had stated that Hamza’s election in the Punjab Assembly was “illegal” and did not follow due processes and that his notification as the chief of Punjab must also be set aside as it was not in line with the law. A third petition pleaded that Hamza’s oath-taking be declared illegal.
The five-member larger bench gave a 4:1 decision on the matter.
“The decision by August Supreme Court of not counting votes of defecting members of a political party is squarely applicable to the election of Chief Minister held on 14th April 2022,” said the judgement.
According to the written judgement from the LHC, it was an “undeniable fact” that 25 PTI MPAs had voted in favour of Hamza Shahbaz, despite the party nominating PML-Q leader Pervez Elahi as its candidate. The dissident lawmakers’ move went against Article 63 A(1)(b) of the Constitution.
“The emphasised part of the order, ibid, discloses the intent behind the decision that possibility of defection from the Party line, policy or direction isto be curbed, at the time of poll by the Presiding Officer, regardless of declaration or action by Party Head. It is understood that presence in the House, enlistment on voter list and casting of vote is not prohibited, however the vote so cast, is held not countable.”
The court further directed to “ recount the votes” and to exclude “25 votes of the defecting members” and said the provincial governor must call a session “on 1 st July 2022 (Friday) at 4:00 pm without fail”.
“As a consequence, if required majority, under Article 130(4), is not secured by any candidate, he shall proceed for second and further polls under its provisos for completing the process of election as required under Article 130(4), unless a candidate is elected by majority votes.”
Judge Muhammad Sajid Mehmood Sethi declared that all acts and actions taken by Hamza Shahbaz as chief minister would “not be adversely affected” by the high court’s order.