SC issues notices to Imran, Fawad, Asad in ECP contempt cases.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to former prime minister Imran Khan, and PTI leaders Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry in cases pertaining to the contempt of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ayesha Malik and newly elevated Justice Athar Minallah heard the case at the apex court in Islamabad.

Earlier, a petition was moved through Advocate Sajeel Sheryar Swati on behalf of the ECP with a request to order consolidation of all six petitions before one high court instead of defending the commission's stance over the issuance of contempt notices against PTI leaders in different high courts.

However, the recipients had challenged the same before different high courts, including the Lahore High Court, its Rawalpindi bench, the Sindh High Court and the Islamabad High Court, on the grounds that Section 10 of the Elections Act, the statutory provision about the commission's power to punish over contempt, was against the Constitution.

According to the Election Act 2017, Section 10 titled 'Power to punish for contempt' states that the 'election 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 contempt of court shall have effect accordingly[...]'

The PTI leaders had also sought from the high courts a declaratory relief from the charges.

At the onset of the hearing, the top court, in response to the ECP's request, remarked that the election commission had submitted applications in different high courts regarding all the cases being shifted to one high court. 'Either prepare for local body polls or pursue the cases,' the court stated.

The chief justice went on to say that the election commission is relying on Article 186-A in the case. 'Is there any precedent in history where the SC consolidated cases of...

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