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Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan on Tuesday remarked the Supreme Court had to decide whether a lawmaker’s deviation from party policy is wrong, and if it is, then the top court will determine the implications of the deviation.

He expressed this during hearing of the presidential reference seeking the top court’s interpretation on Article 63-A of the Constitution.

A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Jusitce Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Mandokhail heard the case.

Defection from party is not always on the basis of conscience as various Western countries are trying to bar the practice of deviation from party policy, Justice Ahsan remarked. What would be the punishment for defection from a party is the real question, he added.

At this Advocate Farooq H Naik, who is representing the Pakistan People’s Party in the case, said the dissident lawmakers would be de-seated from the House for the remaining period of their tenure in the legislature.

In his remarks Justice Mandokhail inquired whether the PPP lawyer was considering defection from the party a crime. If that is the case, why would the vote of the defecting MNA be counted in the voting, he inquired.

Advocate Naik said that it followed the same logic how the police cannot file a case against a person under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code if there is just intention to murder.

He added that the former attorney general Khalid Jawed Khan had presented political and moral arguments and not constitutional ones to support the lifetime disqualification of the MNAs.

The hearing has been adjourned and will resume on Wednesday.