Rejection of Nomination Over Procedural and Legal Violations


a table topped with lots of vases filled with flowers
a table topped with lots of vases filled with flowers

In a significant ruling, the Lahore High Court dismissed Election Appeal No. 831 of 2024, filed by Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, challenging the rejection of his nomination papers for the NA-122, Lahore-VI constituency. This judgment underscores the strict adherence to procedural and legal standards in the electoral process.

Key Areas:

Grounds for Rejection: The Returning Officer (RO) rejected Khan's nomination papers on three primary grounds: his proposer, Muneeb-ur-Rehman, was not a voter in NA-122; Khan's conviction for corrupt practices; and his disqualification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for five years.

Proposer's Validity: The RO found that the proposer’s name was not on the electoral roll of NA-122 but was instead listed in NA-120. The court upheld this finding, emphasizing that the proposer must be a registered voter in the candidate's constituency. The court referenced "Jamshed Iqbal Cheema v. The Election Appellate Tribunal and 19 others" (2022 CLC 463) to support this conclusion, stating that such a defect is substantial and cannot be remedied post-submission.

Conviction for Moral Turpitude: Khan was convicted under Section 174 of the Elections Act, 2017, for willfully hiding benefits accrued from the national exchequer. The court noted that this conviction involved moral turpitude, disqualifying him under Article 63(1)(h) of the Constitution. The judgment cited "Imtiaz Ahmed Lali v. Returning Officer and 3 others" (2008 PLC (C.S.) 934), defining moral turpitude as acts contrary to justice, honesty, and good morals.

Suspension of Sentence vs. Conviction: Although Khan's sentence was suspended, his conviction remained intact. The court distinguished between suspension of sentence and suspension of conviction, referencing "Nasir Mehmood and another v. Umar Sajid and others" (2019 SCMR 382), which clarifies that a conviction stands unless explicitly overturned.

Conclusion: Judge Muhammad Tariq Nadeem concluded that the rejection of Khan's nomination papers was lawful and justified based on the substantial defects and his conviction involving moral turpitude. The appeal was dismissed, reinforcing the integrity of the electoral process.

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