‘No open balloting for Senate elections, votes to be traceable’

The Supreme Court in its advice on the presidential reference on holding an open ballot for the upcoming Senate elections has said that the voting process can remain secret but the votes should be traceable.

A five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, announced its opinion on the matter on Monday. Justice Yahya Afridi has written a dissenting note.

The Senate elections are held under the Constitution and law, the court said in its opinion.

Related: Opposition will outdo PTI in Senate elections: Bilawal

On the secrecy of the ballot, the court quoted an older judgement from the Niaz Ahmad vs Azizuddin and others (PLD 1967 SC 466), where it was ruled that the secrecy is not absolute.

The secrecy of the ballot, therefore, has not to be implemented in the ideal or absolute sense but to be tempered by practical considerations necessitated by the processes of the election, read the judgement in the case.

The court has instructed the Election Commission to ensure that the elections are conducted “honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law and that corrupt practices are guarded against”. The commission must “take all available measures including utilising technologies to fulfil the solemn constitutional duty,” the judgement added.


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