Sentence suspension does not end ineligibility to contest polls, SC rules | Pakistan Today

Sentence suspension does not end ineligibility to contest polls, SC rules

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ruled that the suspension of a sentence awarded to an election candidate will have no impact on his or her disqualification to contest the poll.

The court issued its landmark verdict on an appeal filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Gujrat leader Nasir Mehmood and another candidate, who had challenged a 2015 Lahore High Court (LHC) order that ruled them ineligible to contest the elections for the chairman and vice-chairman of Union Council no. 3, Gujrat Municipal Corporation.

Mehmood was also handed prison terms after being convicted on charges related to false declaration, but his sentences were suspended by the high court on an appeal filed by him against the trial court’s judgement. Mehmood’s lawyer had argued that his client could contest the municipal polls while the sentences remained suspended.

However, a three-judge SC bench that heard the appeal in October last year ruled today that the suspension of a sentence would not make an election candidate eligible to contest the polls.

“The suspension of sentence would have no consequence on the conviction of the appellants for the purposes of being qualified to contest either the local bodies elections or the elections for the Legislative Assemblies,” read the judgement authored by Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

According to the verdict, unless the conviction of a candidate is “specifically suspended” by an appellate court, or their appeal is ultimately allowed and their conviction and sentence are set aside by the appellate court, “the conviction of the appellant would continue to hold the field” and the disqualification incurred by him or her due to that conviction will remain intact.