LHC judge seeks larger bench to decide ECP's powers.

LAHORE -- A Lahore High Court judge on Monday recommended the chief justice to constitute a larger bench to decide a petition challenging the powers enjoyed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to award punishment for contempt under Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017.

Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh observed that important legal points had been raised in the petition, which needed to be heard by a larger bench.

He referred the case to the chief justice with a request to form a larger bench to hear it.

In a September hearing, the judge had issued notices to the respondents and also sought assistance from the attorney general for Pakistan and Punjab advocate general on the ECP's powers to punish for contempt.

Petitioner Malik Shabbir Ismail through his counsel Azhar Siddique contended that the Supreme Court had in multiple cases held that the Election Commission of Pakistan was neither a court nor a tribunal, therefore, the power conferred upon it under Section 10 could not be exercised for being violative of articles 204 and Article 175 of the Constitution.

Section 10 of the elections act reads: 'The Commission may exercise the same power as the High Court to punish any person for contempt of court and the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 (V of 2003), or any other law pertaining to...

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