ISLAMABAD    -   Chief Justice of Paki­stan Justice Umar Ata Bandial Tuesday said that Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, under which a lawmaker is disqualified for life, is a ‘draconian law’.

He said this while hearing an appeal of PTI’s former senator Faisal Vaw­da against the ver­dicts of Is­lamabad High Court (IHC) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Vawda had chal­lenged his lifetime dis­qualification by the ECP and the subsequent rul­ing by the IHC.

During the hear­ing by the three-mem­ber bench, CJ Bandial observed that “Article 62(1)(f) is a draconian provision” and they have to see whether the ECP can disqualify the legisla­tor permanently.

According to Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitu­tion, a person shall not be qualified to be elect­ed or chosen as a mem­ber of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) “unless — he is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the con­trary by a court of law”.

Under the Article 62(1)(f), PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif and former PTI leader Jehangir Tareen were disqualified for life by different benches of the apex court in 2017.

During the court’s pro­ceedings, Waseem Sajjad informed the bench that his client had contested elections in 2018 and two years later a disqualifica­tion petition was filed in the high court for submit­ting a false affidavit.

“Even if the SC declares the lifetime disqualifi­cation orders illegal, the facts would remain the same,” remarked CJ Ban­dial. He added that the ECP has “properly re­viewed” the case.

“The only question, in this case, is whether or not the ECP can issue or­ders for lifetime disqual­ification,” observed CJ Bandial.

The ECP in February this year had disqualified Vawda for concealing his US citizenship and direct­ed him to return the sal­ary and other benefits he had received as a minister and as a member of the National Assembly, with­in two months. It had also de-notified him as a sen­ator. In his petition, Vaw­da has sought to set aside a declaration by the ECP on February 9 which led to his disqualification as a lawmaker for life.

Vawda pleaded that the ECP had cited no rea­son for invoking Article 62(1()f) of the Constitu­tion to disqualify him for life. The commission ap­pears to be under an im­pression that any person disqualified under Article 63(1c) — for having dual nationality — could auto­matically be penalised un­der Article 62(1f), he said.