Rejection of Nomination Papers Due to Proposer's Ineligibility


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In a recent decision, the Lahore High Court dismissed Election Appeal No. 378 of 2024, filed by Naseer Ahmad Qadri, challenging the rejection of his nomination papers for the PP-174 constituency. This judgment underscores the critical importance of ensuring that proposers for election candidates are correctly registered voters within the relevant constituency.

Key Areas:

Grounds for Rejection: The Returning Officer rejected Qadri's nomination papers on December 30, 2023, because his proposer, Muhammad Ramzan, was not listed as a registered voter in the PP-174 constituency but in PP-173 instead. This discrepancy led to the rejection of Qadri's nomination due to non-compliance with the electoral requirements.

Appellant’s Argument: The appellant argued that the error was inadvertent and should be considered a curable defect. He cited cases such as "Rana Muhammad Tajammal Hussain v. Rana Shaukat Mahmood" (PLD 2007 SC 277) and "Sharafat Ali and another v. D.R.O. and others" (2008 SCMR 539) to support the claim that such procedural mistakes could be rectified by allowing the substitution of the proposer.

Legal Precedents and Court's Analysis: The court highlighted the mandatory nature of the relevant electoral provisions, particularly sections 60(1), 60(4), 62(6), and 62(9)(b) of the Election Act, 2017. It emphasized that the role of the proposer is foundational and any defect in this regard is substantial and not curable. The court cited the case of "Jamshed Iqbal Cheema v. The Election Appellate Tribunal and 19 others" (2022 CLC 463) and a larger bench judgment in "Ijaz v. Returning Officer PP-115, Faisalabad" (W.P. No.223502 of 2018), which support the view that errors involving proposers cannot be corrected after submission.

Conclusion: The court, led by Judge Rasaal Hasan Syed, found that the Returning Officer’s decision was correct and that the defect in the nomination papers was not curable. The appeal was dismissed, reinforcing the necessity for strict compliance with electoral laws and due diligence in the nomination process.

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