CEC not competent to decide on the validity of the law : SC

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Islamabad, Sep 25 (UNI) Raising serious doubts over amendments to election rules, Pakistan Supreme Court has observed that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) was not competent to decide on the constitutional validity of the law.

A nine-judge bench of the apex court is hearing a set of petitions against President Pervez Musharraf's dual offices and his re-election bid.

Opposition parties have charged that the amendments to the presidential election rules were made to facilitate Gen Musharraf's re-election.

The Bench, headed by Justice Rana Bhagwandas, observed that the CEC could not act as court and strike down any law.

The court also dismissed three petitions challenging the President's dual offices.

The apex court asked Attorney General Malik Qayyum why the disqualification clauses meant for a parliamentarian's election could not be applied to the Presidential poll. The AGP submitted that Article 244 of the Constitution did not apply to the Presidential poll, Daily Times reported.

When the Attorney General contended that the questions raised by the petitioners before the court could be decided by the CEC during filing of nomination papers, Justice Falak Sher asked if the CEC could determine the validity of Act 7 of 2004 passed by Parliament, concerning the President holding dual offices.

Justice Rana Bhagwandas also questioned if the CEC was a competent authority to decide the constitutional validity of the law.

Mr Qayyum said the presidential poll was exempt from Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Both articles deal with a parliamentarian's qualification and disqualification. The Attorney General will continue his arguments today.

Later, talking to reporters he said the court may give a decision by tomorrow.

UNI

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