Court: SC opines govt to make casting of vote mandatory

ISLAMABAD: Heading a threemember Supreme Court bench on Wednesday, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that it would be applauded if the government made casting of vote as mandatory for all those who were eligible for it.

The bench also comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed was hearing a petition filed by Workers Party of Pakistan pertaining to electoral reforms. The court also asked the government to give its suggestions on making casting of vote as mandatory for all those eligible for it.

Bilal Monto, counsel for Workers Party of Pakistan, submitted that there should also be a restriction on the amount of money spent on the elections. The Chief Justice noted that during the lections the atmosphere got so charged that it might become difficult to implement the regulation of that kind.

The Attorney General Irfan Qadir, who appeared on notice, apprised the court that legislation was compulsory for making casting of vote for eligible as mandatory. To a court query, he said casting of vote was necessary in a few countries. He said casting of votes was not compulsory in Canada, US and some countries of Europe etc.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed noted that amendments were meant to introduce in the system to sustain democracy. He said the Supreme Court had ruled that only a democratic system would be allowed in the country and there would be no room for any other form of governance in the country.

The Chief Justice noted that the apex court had not ruled anywhere that not casting of vote should be made a punishable offence. He asked the Attorney General that whether voting could be made mandatory before the forthcoming general polls.

The Attorney General then stated that he would consult with the government as to whether the condition could be implemented before the forthcoming general polls. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till January 30.