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What is the samiullah baloch case and why is it significant?

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Justice Yahya Afridi of the Supreme Court recently emphasized the significance of upholding the sanctity of constitutional judgments, particularly in the context of Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. In a notable dissenting opinion, Justice Afridi underscored that a mere ordinary legislation, such as Section 232 of the Election Act 2017, cannot nullify a ruling by a constitutional court. He highlighted the necessity of a constitutional amendment to set aside the life ban imposed under Article 62(1)(f), as seen in the 2018 Samiullah Baloch case.

The 2018 case had far-reaching implications, permanently disqualifying lawmakers deemed unfit under Article 62(1)(f) for lacking honesty and righteousness. Justice Afridi’s dissent emphasized that the period of disqualification determined by the apex court in the Samiullah Baloch case should prevail over any conflicting provisions introduced through ordinary legislation, like the Elections Act 2017.

Moreover, Justice Afridi pointed out the deliberate omission of a specific time frame for disqualification in Article 62(1)(f), indicating a deliberate choice by the framers of the Constitution. Any attempt to impose a time limit on this provision would necessitate a constitutional amendment, as opposed to ordinary legislation.

In his dissent, Justice Afridi also stressed the importance of judicial caution, especially when exercising the court’s original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. He highlighted the need for the court to avoid unnecessary interference in political matters and to uphold the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Furthermore, Justice Afridi emphasized the principle of stare decisis, urging judges to carefully consider overturning precedents and to respect settled legal principles unless there is a glaring error. He concluded by warning against rendering Article 62(1)(f) redundant, as it would undermine the core principles of constitutional interpretation. Justice Yahya Afridi’s dissenting opinion in the Samiullah Baloch case serves as a reminder of the judiciary’s role in upholding constitutional integrity and the rule of law.

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