Election Symbol Allocation Dispute


selective focus photography of woman holding yellow petaled flowers
selective focus photography of woman holding yellow petaled flowers

In a consolidated order, the Lahore High Court's Multan Bench dismissed the petitions filed by Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi, Muhammad Dawood Khan, and Rana Abdul Mannan Sajid. The petitioners sought specific election symbols for their respective constituencies, which had been denied by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Returning Officers. This ruling emphasizes the importance of adhering to procedural deadlines and the limitations of constitutional jurisdiction in such disputes.

Key Areas:

Petitioners' Claims: Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi (NA-178), Muhammad Dawood Khan (PP-273), and Rana Abdul Mannan Sajid (PP-272) filed petitions seeking the allocation of the symbols of a dove and a hukkah, respectively. They claimed to have filed their applications within the stipulated time but were allocated different symbols (feather, bowl, and bottle) instead.

ECP and Returning Officers' Defense: The ECP and the respective Returning Officers categorically denied receiving any applications for the requested symbols by the deadline of January 13, 2024. They referenced an earlier court order dated January 16, 2024, which had directed the Regional Election Commissioner, D.G. Khan, to address the grievances of the petitioners if their applications were filed according to the law. The subsequent order dated January 18, 2024, confirmed that the applications were not filed within the required timeframe.

Court's Analysis: The court reviewed the records and found no evidence supporting the petitioners' claims that their applications were submitted on time. The dates mentioned on the applications (December 13, 2024, and December 14, 2024) had not yet arrived, indicating a possible clerical error. Furthermore, the court noted that the petitioners had not challenged the Regional Election Commissioner's order, which had refused their requests.

Legal Precedents: The court referenced Section 67 of the Election Act, 2017, which governs the allocation of election symbols. The court determined that the petitioners failed to meet the procedural requirements and deadlines, making their petitions untenable under constitutional jurisdiction.

Conclusion: Judge Muzamil Akhtar Shabir concluded that the petitioners had not demonstrated sufficient grounds for the court to exercise its constitutional jurisdiction to direct the allocation of the requested symbols. The petitions were dismissed, reinforcing the importance of adherence to procedural rules and deadlines in election matters.

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