Rejection of Nomination Papers on Omission of Bank Account


a notebook with a pen and glasses on top of it
a notebook with a pen and glasses on top of it

In a decisive ruling, the Lahore High Court reversed the Returning Officer's decision to reject the nomination papers of Jan Muhammad Ramzan for PP-146 Lahore-II. This case emphasizes the importance of structured discretion and procedural fairness in the electoral process.

Key Areas:

Initial Rejection: The Returning Officer initially rejected Ramzan's nomination papers on December 30, 2023, due to concerns about the genuineness of the signatures of the candidate, proposer, and seconder. Additionally, it was found that Ramzan did not provide the required bank account details for election expenses.

Court Proceedings: During the court hearing, the Returning Officer verified the signatures of the candidate, proposer, and seconder, confirming their authenticity. The primary issue then shifted to the omission of bank account details for election expenses.

Legal Obligations: Under Section 60(2)(b) of the Elections Act, 2017, as amended by the Elections Amendment (Act), 2023, candidates are required to declare an exclusive bank account for election expenses by the date of scrutiny. Ramzan’s counsel argued that a dormant account, reactivated for election purposes, was mistakenly not listed in the nomination papers.

Case Law Reference: The court cited "Yasir Aftab v. Irfan Gull and others" (2023 SCMR 206), which underscores that the scrutiny process is two-fold and allows Returning Officers to cure substantial defects if promptly addressed by the candidate.

Conclusion: Judge Rasaal Hasan Syed concluded that the omission of the bank account details was a curable defect. The court found that the Returning Officer should have provided an opportunity to rectify this omission. Given that Ramzan promptly provided the necessary bank statement during the hearing, the defect was considered resolved. Consequently, the court set aside the Returning Officer’s order and directed the inclusion of Ramzan's name in the revised list of validly nominated candidates.

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