SHC issues notice to ECP on petition seeking fee refund

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday issued a notice to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on petition that sought refund of fees collected with submission of nomination papers for the local government elections in the province.

A division bench headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar was seized with the hearing of petition filed by Advocate Syed Mureed Ali Shah, who pleaded the court to direct ECP to refund fee amount collected by it with nomination papers of aspiring candidates for local government elections.

Citing ECP through provincial election commissioner as respondents, the petitioner submitted that SHC had set aside the entire exercise of delimitation carried out for the local government elections on December 30, 2012 and ECP was asked to announce new schedule for the local government elections in the province after fresh delimitation of constituencies for the local government elections.

He said that as per local government act, ECP was required to appoint district returning officers, returning officers and assistant returning officers from their own employees or anybody or entity controlled by the Provincial or Federal Government and added that it would be violation of Act if they are appointed from the provincial government servants / executives who already stand mistrusted.

He said that the Supreme Court had allowed ECP to scrap the election schedule issued earlier and start the entire electoral process afresh after announcing a fresh schedule.

He said that nomination papers were submitted following the completion of delimitation exercise which was already stricken down by SHC, and returning officers conducted scrutiny of nomination papers on basis of that delimitations.

He said that the hefty amount collected by ECP as nomination fee is liable to be refunded to each and every aspiring candidate throughout the Province.

He pleaded the court to declare that direct the ECP to appoint its employees or Judicial Officers as district returning officers, returning officers and assistant returning officers to hold free and impartial local government elections.

The court was also pleaded to direct the ECP to conduct local government elections under supervision of Army / Rangers, posted inside and outside polling stations.

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