The Elections Act, 2017 (Act No. XXXIII of 2017).

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Passed by National Assembly of Pakistan
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Updated 11-Sep-2021
Added 30-Jul-2021

The Elections Act, 2017 (Act No. XXXIII of 2017).

An
Act

 

WHEREAS it is expedient to amend, consolidate and unify laws relating to the conduct of elections and matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto; 

It is hereby enacted as follows:— 

 

CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY

 

1.Short title, extent and commencement.
(1)This Act may be called the Elections Act, 2017. 
(2)It extends to the whole of Pakistan. 
(3)It shall come into force at once. 

 

2.Definitions.—In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,—
(i)aalim‖ means a Muslim scholar who
(a)holds a degree or a sanad requiring conclusion of at least sixteen years of education recognized by the Higher Education Commission; and 
(b)has at least twenty years‘ experience as a teacher or researcher in fields relating to the principles and philosophy of Islam and Islamic law; 
(ii)applicable local government law‖ means an Act of Majlis-eShoora (Parliament) or of a Provincial Assembly for establishment of a local government and includes an Ordinance; 
(iii)Article‖ means Article of the Constitution; 
(iv)Assembly‖ means the National Assembly or a Provincial Assembly;
(v)asset‖ means any property owned or held by a candidate or a Member; 
(vi)bye-election‖ means an election to fill a casual vacancy;
(vii)candidate‖ means a person proposed and seconded as a candidate for, or seeking, election as a Member; 
(viii)Code‖ means the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898); 
(ix)Commission‖ means the Election Commission of Pakistan constituted under Article 218; 
(x)Commissioner‖ means the Chief Election Commissioner appointed under Article 213 and includes an Acting Chief Election Commissioner appointed under Article 217; 
(xi)constituency‖ means a constituency delimited under this Act;
(xii)Constitution‖ means the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; 
(xiii)contesting candidate‖ means a validly nominated candidate who has not withdrawn his candidature; 
(xiv)election agent‖ means a person appointed by a candidate as his election agent under this Act, and, where no such appointment is made, the candidate acting as his own election agent; 
(xv)election expenses‖ means any expenditure incurred before, during and after an election or payment made, whether by way of gift, loan, advance, deposit or otherwise, for the arrangement, conduct or benefit of, or in connection with or incidental to the election of a candidate, including the expenditure on account of issuing circulars or publications but does not include the deposit made under section 61 or section 111; 
(xvi)electoral area‖ means—
(a)in rural areas, a village or a census block; 
(b)in urban areas,—
I.where there is a municipal ward or census block, such ward or census block; 
II.where there is no municipal ward or a census block, a well-defined Mohallah or a street; 
III.where the ward or census block, Mohallah or street is too big, a well-defined part thereof: 

Provided that a census block shall not be divided except in exceptional circumstances for reasons to be recorded;

(c)such other area as may be determined by the Commission; 
(xvii)election observer‖ means a person authorized by the Commission to observe the conduct of an election; 
(xviii)election official‖ includes an officer or official of the Commission, a District Returning Officer, a Returning Officer, an Assistant Returning Officer, a Presiding Officer, an Assistant Presiding Officer, a Polling Officer or any officer or official of law enforcing agency or other agencies or any other official appointed or deputed to perform duties in connection with an election; 
(xix)Election Programme‖ means an Election Programme notified by the Commission under this Act; 
(xx)electoral roll‖ means an electoral roll prepared, revised or corrected under this Act and includes the electoral rolls prepared under the Electoral Rolls Act 1974 (XXI of 1974), existing immediately before the commencement of this Act; 
(xxi)Form‖ means a Form appended to this Act;
(xxii)Government‖ means the Federal Government and ‗any Government‘ means the Federal Government, a Provincial Government or a local government; 
(xxiii)government dues and utility expenses‖ include rent, charges of rest houses or lodges or other accommodation owned by any Government or a body owned or controlled by any Government but shall not include the government dues and utility expenses the recovery of which has been stayed by any order of a court; or tribunal;
(xxiv)loan‖, means any loan, advance, credit or finance obtained or written off on or after 31st December, 1985 but shall not include the loan the recovery of which has been stayed by a court or tribunal; 
(xxv)local government‖ means a local government, by whatever name called, established by law; 
(xxvi)Member‖ means member of an Assembly, the Senate or a local government; 
(xxvii)National Database and Registration Authority‖ means the National Database and Registration Authority constituted under the National Database and Registration Authority Ordinance, 2000 (VIII of 2000); 
(xxviii)political party‖ means an association of citizens or a combination or group of such associations formed with a view to propagating or influencing political opinion and participating in elections for any elective public office or for membership of a legislative body, including an Assembly, the Senate, or local government; 
(xxix)population‖ means the population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published; 
(xxx)prescribed‖ means prescribed by the Rules; 
(xxxi)Presiding Officer‖ means a Presiding Officer appointed under this Act for a polling station and includes an Assistant Presiding Officer performing the functions of a Presiding Officer; 
(xxxii)provisional‖ means unofficial and not final; 
(xxxiii)Registration Officer‖ means a Registration Officer appointed under this Act and includes an Assistant Registration Officer performing the functions of a Registration Officer; 
(xxxiv)returned candidate‖ means a candidate who has been declared elected as a Member under this Act; 
(xxxv)Revising Authority‖ means a person appointed under this Act to hear and dispose of claims and objections and applications for corrections relating to the electoral rolls; 
(xxxvi)Rules‖ means rules made under this Act; 
(xxxvii)section‖ means a section of this Act; 
(xxxviii)tax‖ includes a tax levied by any Government, but shall not include taxes the recovery of which has been stayed by a court or tribunal; 
(xxxix)technocrat‖ means a person who
(a)holds a degree requiring conclusion of at least sixteen years of education recognized by the Higher Education Commission; and 
(b)has at least twenty years of experience including a record of achievement at the national or international level; 
(xl)validly nominated candidate‖ means a candidate whose nomination paper has been accepted; and 
(xli)voter‖ means—
(a)in relation to an Assembly or a local government, a person who is enrolled as a voter on the electoral roll of any electoral area in a constituency; and 
(b)in relation to the Senate, a person who—
l.for election to a seat from a Province, is a Member of the Provincial Assembly; 
ll.for election to seats from the Islamabad Capital Territory, is a Member of the National Assembly; and 
lll.for election to a seat from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, is a Member of the National Assembly elected from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. 

 

CHAPTER II

ELECTION COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN 

 

3.Procedure of the Commission.
(1)In the performance of its functions, and duties and exercise of its powers, the Commission shall regulate its own procedure. 
(2)The Commission may exercise its powers and perform its functions even if the office of any member of the Commission is vacant or any of the members is, for any reason, unable to attend the proceedings of the Commission, and the decision of the majority of the members shall have the effect of the decision of the Commission. 
(3)If, upon any matter requiring a decision of the Commission, there is difference of opinion amongst its members, the opinion of the majority shall prevail and the decision of the Commission shall be expressed in terms of the opinion of the majority: 

 

Provided that—

(a)where the members attending the proceedings of the Commission are four and they are equally divided in their opinion; or 
(b)where the members attending the proceedings of the Commission are three and there is difference of opinion amongst them; 

the matter shall be placed for decision before the full Commission, comprising all its members.

(4)In this section and section 6, the term ‗member of the Commission‘ includes the Commissioner.
4.Power to issue directions.
(1)The Commission shall have the power to issue such directions or orders as may be necessary for the performance of its functions and duties, including an order for doing complete justice in any matter pending before it and an order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person or the discovery or production of any document. 
(2)Any such direction or order shall be enforceable throughout Pakistan and shall be executed as if it had been issued by the High Court. 
(3)Anything required to be done for carrying out the purposes of this Act, for which no provision or no sufficient provision exists, shall be done by such authority and in such manner as the Commission may direct. 
 
5.Assistance to the Commission.
(1)The Commissioner or the Commission may require any person or authority to perform such functions or render such assistance for the purposes of this Act as he or it may direct. 
(2)It shall be the duty of all executive authorities in the Federation and in the Provinces to render such assistance to the Commissioner and the Commission in the discharge of his or its functions as may be required by the Commissioner or the Commission. 
(3)The Federal Government and each Provincial Government shall make available to the Commission such staff as it may require for the performance of its functions under this Act: 

Provided that where the Commission decides to utilize the services of serving judicial officers, it may do so in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned. 

(4)After the Election Programme has been issued and till the publication of the names of the returned candidates in the official Gazette, any Government or authority shall not post or transfer any official appointed or deputed in connection with an election without prior approval in writing of the Commission, including posting or transfer the decision in respect whereof has not been implemented, and the Commission may itself issue necessary directions to any such Government or authority for the posting or transfer of any official.

 

6.Delegation of powers.
(1)The Commission may authorize the Commissioner or any of its members or any of the officers of the Commission to exercise and perform any of its powers and functions under this Act. 
(2)The Commissioner shall exercise powers relating to the appointment of officers and staff to be employed in connection with the functions of the Commission and determine their terms and conditions of employment in accordance with the Rules. 
(3)The Commissioner shall constitute benches comprising three or more members of the Commission to hear and decide complaints, applications, petitions or appeals filed before it under this Act. 
(4)The decision of a Bench constituted under sub-section (3) shall be deemed to be a decision of the Commission except where due to difference of opinion among members of the bench, the matter is required to be placed before the full Commission for decision under section 3. 
7.Power to requisition property.
(1)A Provincial Government, deputy commissioner, political agent or head of district administration, by whatever name called, shall, upon a request made in this behalf by the Commission, requisition a vehicle, vessel or other means of transportation as is needed or is likely to be needed for the purpose of transporting to and from any polling station ballot boxes or other election material or any officer or other person engaged for the performance of any duty in connection with an election. 
(2)A Provincial Government, deputy commissioner, political agent or head of district administration, by whatever name called, shall not requisition a vehicle, vessel or other means of transportation which is being used by a candidate or his election agent for any purpose connected with the election of such candidate.
(3)Any person authorized in this behalf by the Provincial Government may take possession of a vehicle, vessel or other means of transportation requisitioned under sub-section (1) and may for that purpose use such force, including police force, as may be reasonably necessary. 
(4)Where any vehicle, vessel or other means of transportation is requisitioned under sub-section (1), there shall be paid to the owner thereof compensation the amount of which shall be determined by the Provincial Government or the officer requisitioning the vehicle, vessel or other means of transportation on the basis of the fares and rates prevailing in the locality for its hire. 
(5)Where the owner of the vehicle, vessel or other means of transportation, being aggrieved by the amount of compensation so determined makes an application to the Provincial Government within a period of thirty days from the date the amount has been determined, for the matter being referred to an arbitrator agreed upon by the parties, the amount of compensation to be paid shall be such as the arbitrator appointed in this behalf by the Provincial Government may determine. 

 

8.Power of Commission to ensure fair election.—Save as otherwise provided, the Commission may—
(a)stop the polls at one or more polling stations at any stage of the election if it is convinced that it shall not be able to ensure the conduct of the election justly, fairly and in accordance with law due to large scale malpractices, including coercion, intimidation and pressures, prevailing at the election; 
(b)review an order passed by an officer under this Act or the Rules, including rejection of a ballot paper; and 
(c) (c) issue such instructions, exercise such powers and make such consequential orders as may in its opinion, be necessary for ensuring that an election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the Rules. 
9.Power of the Commission to declare a poll void.
(1)Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, if, from facts apparent on the face of the record and after such enquiry as it may deem necessary, the Commission is satisfied that by reason of grave illegalities or such violations of the provisions of this Act or the Rules as have materially affected the result of the poll at one or more polling stations or in the whole constituency including implementation of an agreement restraining women from casting their votes, it shall make a declaration accordingly and call upon the voters in the concerned polling station or stations or in the whole constituency as the case may be, to recast their votes in the manner provided for bye-elections. 

Explanation.—If the turnout of women voters is less than ten percent of the total votes polled in a constituency, the Commission may presume that the women voters have been restrained through an agreement from casting their votes and may declare, polling at one or more polling stations or election in the whole constituency, void. 

(2)Notwithstanding the powers conferred on it by sub-section (1), the Commission may order filing of complaint under this Act before a court of competent jurisdiction against persons who entered into the agreement referred to in sub-section (1). 
(3)Notwithstanding the publication of the name of a returned candidate under section 98, the Commission may exercise the powers conferred on it by sub-section (1) before the expiration of sixty days after such publication; and, where the Commission does not finally dispose of a case within the saidperiod, the election of the returned candidate shall be deemed to have become final, subject to the decision of an Election Tribunal on an election petition, if any. 
(4)While exercising the powers conferred on it by sub-section (1), the Commission shall be deemed to be an Election Tribunal to which an election petition has been presented and shall, notwithstanding anything contained in Chapter IX, regulate its own procedure. 
(5)Any person aggrieved by a declaration of the Commission under this section may, within thirty days of the declaration, prefer an appeal to the Supreme Court. 
 
10.Power to punish for contempt.—The Commission may exercise the same power as the High Court to punish any person for contempt of court and the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 (V of 2003), or any other law pertaining to contempt of court shall have effect accordingly as if reference therein to a ―court‖ and to a ―judge‖ were a reference, respectively, to the ―Commission‖ and the ―Commissioner‖ or, as the case may be, a member of the Commission.
 
11.Expenditure charged upon Federal Consolidated Fund.—
(1)The remuneration payable to the Commissioner, members and other officers and staff of the Commission and all administrative expenses and other expenditure relating to the Commission shall be expenditure charged upon the Federal Consolidated Fund, within the meaning of Article 81. 
(2)Subject to the provisions relating to audit and applicable laws and rules, the Commissioner shall have full financial powers to sanction and incurexpenditure within the approved budgetary allocation, including creation of posts. 
 
12.Measures for training and public awareness.—The Commission shall, from time to time as it may deem fit,–
(a)conduct training programs for election officials including officials of the Commission, any Government or corporations, and autonomous or semi-autonomous bodies controlled by any of these Governments and officers from the judiciary, if any, deputed or selected in connection with an election in accordance with procedure laid down under this Act or the Rules; 
(b)advise public authorities, educational and training institutions regarding programmes and measures to promote dissemination of knowledge regarding electoral laws and best practices; 
(c)conduct public awareness programmes and media campaigns, regarding the importance of maximum voter enrolment and participation in elections, especially by women, dissemination of information regarding procedure of casting vote, and the importance of maintaining the integrity of the electoral process; and 
(d)examine laws, rules and regulations in force which are relevant to the conduct of elections and recommend to the Federal Government amendments in such laws, rules or regulations, as the case may be, in order to increase transparency and fairness and eliminate corrupt practices. 

 

13.Establishment of results management system.
(1)The Commission shall establish a transparent results management system for expeditious counting, tabulation, compilation, transmission, dissemination and publication of results in the official Gazette and on the website of the Commission. 
(2)The Presiding Officer shall immediately take snapshot of the Result of the Count and, as soon as connectivity is available and it is practicable, electronically send it to the Commission and the Returning Officer beforesending the original documents under section 90. 
(3)The Returning Officer shall compile the provisional results forthwith and, on or before 2.00 a.m. the day immediately following the polling day, communicate these results electronically to the Commission: 

 

Provided that if, for any reason, the results are incomplete at that time, the Returning Officer shall communicate to the Commission reasons thereof, listing the polling stations from which results are awaited, and send the complete provisional results as soon as the results are compiled. 

(4)The Returning Officer shall electronically send to the Commission— 
(a)scanned copy of the provisional results compiled under sub-section(3) and
 
(b)scanned copies of the Consolidated Statement of the Results of the Count, Final Consolidated Result together with Results of the Count and the Ballot Paper Accounts, as received by him from the Presiding Officers under sub-section (18) of section 90. 
(5)The Returning Officer shall also send to the Commission original copies of documents mentioned in sub-sections (3) and (4) through special messenger or any other swift means of communication including urgent mail service or courier service, as may be directed by the Commission. 
(6)The Commission shall publish the documents received under subsection (3) along with gender disaggregated data of turnout on its website. 

 

14.Action Plan.
(1)The Commission shall, at least four months before the general election is due to be held on expiry of the term of an Assembly, prepare a comprehensive Action Plan specifying all legal and administrative measures that have been taken or required to be taken in respect of the election, including the following—
(a)delimitation of constituencies; 
(b)revision of electoral rolls; 
(c)enlistment of political parties; 
(d)allocation of symbols; 
(e)appointment and training of District Returning Officers, Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers, Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers, Polling Officers and other election officials; 
(f)preparation of constituency-wise list of polling stations and list of polling personnel;
(g)determination and printing of requisite number of ballot papers and designation of printing presses; 
(h)establishment of a transparent result management system for election results; 
(i)introduction of any new technology; 
(j)arrangements for election observers; 
(k)appointment of the Appellate and Election Tribunals; 
(l)security measures; and 
(m)monitoring mechanism to report progress regarding implementation of the Action Plan. 
(2)The Commission shall carry out a post-election review of implementation of the Action Plan to ascertain shortcomings, if any, with suggestions to further improve the electoral system. 
(3)The Commission shall include the post-election review in its next annual report under section 16 and publish it on its website. 

 

15.Complaints.
(1)Any person aggrieved by any decision or action taken or direction issued by an authority subordinate to the Commission or any action of a political party or a candidate in violation of the Code of Conduct may, within fifteen days of such decision or action, submit a complaint to the Commission pertaining to matters other than relating to election disputes falling under Article 225. 
(2)The Commission may refer the complaint received under sub-section (1) to such authority as it may deem appropriate for enquiry and report. 
(3)The Commission may, on receipt of enquiry report or after hearing the complainant and any other person relevant to the proceedings itself and holding a summary enquiry, pass such orders as it may deem fit within thirty days from the date of receipt of the complaint. 
(4)The Commission may also act under this section on its own accord. 
(5)The Commission shall publish the order passed under sub-section (3) on its website. 

 

16.Commission to submit an annual report.
(1)The Commission shall, within ninety days after the end of every calendar year, publish a report of its activities for the year and send the report to the Federal Government and each Provincial Government. 
(2)The Federal Government and each Provincial Government shall, within sixty days from the receipt of the annual report from the Commission, lay the annual report in each House of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and each Provincial Assembly. 
(3)Immediately after the annual report is laid in any House of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), the Commission shall publish the annual report on its website.

 

CHAPTER III

DELIMITATION OF CONSTITUENCIES

 

17.Commission to delimit constituencies.
(1)The Commission shall delimit territorial constituencies for elections to the National Assembly, each Provincial Assembly and to the local governments in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, this Act, the Rules and the applicable local government law. 
(2)The Commission shall delimit constituencies after every census officially published. 

 

18.Seats in the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies.
(1)There shall be seats in the National Assembly allocated to each Province, Islamabad Capital Territory, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and seats reserved for women and non-Muslims, as specified in Article 51. 
(2)There shall be seats in each Provincial Assembly consisting of general seats and seats reserved for women and non-Muslims, as specified in Article 106. 
19.Delimitation of constituencies.
(1)For the purpose of election to the National Assembly, the Commission shall divide—
(a)each Province into as many separate territorial constituencies as the number of general seats allocated to that Province in Article 51; and 
(b)Islamabad Capital Territory and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas into as many separate territorial constituencies as the number of general seats respectively allocated to the Islamabad Capital Territory and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Article 51. 
(2)A Province shall be a single constituency for all seats reserved for women which are allocated to each Province in Article 51. 
(3)The constituency for all seats reserved for non-Muslims in the National Assembly shall be the whole country. 
(4)For the purpose of election to Provincial Assemblies, the Commission shall divide each Province into as many separate territorial constituencies as the number of general seats specified in Article 106. 
(5)The constituencies for the seats reserved for women and non-Muslims in the Provincial Assemblies shall be such that each Province forms one constituency with as many such seats as are allocated to that Province in Article 106. 
(6)For the purpose of election to the local governments, the Commission shall carry out delimitation with due regard to the applicable local government law.

 

20.Principles of delimitation.
(1)All constituencies for general seats shall, as far as practicable, be delimited having regard to the distribution of population in geographically compact areas, physical features, existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication and public convenience and other cognate factors to ensure homogeneity in the creation of constituencies. 
(2)For the purpose of delimiting constituencies for the general seats of the National Assembly for the Tribal Areas two or more separate areas may be grouped into one constituency. 
(3)As far as possible, variation in population of constituencies of an Assembly or a local government shall not ordinarily exceed ten percent. 
(4)If the limit of ten percent under sub-section (3) is exceeded in an exceptional case, the Commission shall record reasons thereof in the delimitation order. 

 

21.Reports of Commission and list of constituencies.
(1)For the purpose of delimiting constituencies, the Commission may receive and consider representations, hold inquiries, summon witnesses and record evidence, and shall prepare and publish in the official Gazette a preliminary report and list of constituencies specifying the areas proposed to be included in each constituency. 
(2)The Commission shall invite representations in respect of the preliminary report within a period of thirty days from the date of publication. 
(3)A voter in a constituency may, within the period specified in sub-section (2), make a representation to the Commission in respect of the delimitation of that constituency proposed in the preliminary report. 
(4)The Commission shall, after hearing and considering the representations, if any, received by it, make such amendments, alterations or modifications in the preliminary list of constituencies published under sub-section (1) as it thinks fit or necessary, and shall, within a period of thirty days from the last date fixed for making representation under sub-section (2),publish in the official Gazette and on its website, the final report and list of constituencies showing the areas included in each constituency.

 

22.Power of Commission to make amendment, alteration or modification in the final list of constituencies.
(1)Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the Commission may, at any time but at least four months before notification of the Election Programme, of its own motion and for reasons to be recorded, make such amendments, alterations or modifications in the final list of constituencies published under sub-section (4) of section 21 or in the areas included in a constituency, as it deems necessary. 
(2)The Commission shall publish in the official Gazette and on its website the proposed amendments, alterations or modifications with their justifications and invite and hear representations in respect thereof before taking final decision thereon.

 

CHAPTER IV

ELECTORAL ROLLS

 

23.Preparation and computerization of electoral rolls.
(1)The Commission shall prepare the electoral rolls for election to the National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies and local governments and shall revise such rolls periodically in the prescribed manner. 
(2)The Commission shall make arrangements for the computerization of the electoral rolls in such manner as it may determine and any printout fromthe database maintained by or with the authority of the Commission, shall be deemed to be an electoral roll published under this Act.

 

24.Appointment of Registration Officers
(1)The Commission shall appoint a Registration Officer for an electoral area or group of electoral areas for the purpose of preparation, revision, correction and amendment of the electoral rolls and may, for that purpose, appoint as many Assistant Registration Officers as may be necessary. 
(2)Subject to such prior permission or instructions as may be given in this behalf by the Commission—
(a)an Assistant Registration Officer may, under the control of the Registration Officer, perform the functions of a Registration Officer; and 
(b)a Registration Officer may require any official to assist him in the performance of his functions. 

 

25.National Database and Registration Authority to transmit data.
(1)In such manner as may be prescribed, the National Database and Registration Authority shall transmit relevant data of every fresh National Identity Card issued by it to the Commission for registration of the card-holder as a voter in the electoral roll of the electoral area in which his permanent or temporary address is located, in accordance with the option indicated by him in the application for issuance of the National Identity Card. 
(2)The Authority shall also transmit to the Commission relevant data of every cancelled or modified National Identity Card, information regarding deceased voters and such other details as may be required by the Commission for the purposes of this Act. 
(3)The Commission shall forward the data referred to in sub-sections (1) and (2) to the Registration Officer concerned who shall take steps for enrolment or, as the case may be, correction in the relevant electoral roll in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed. 

Explanation.—Fresh National Identity Card includes any card that has not been earlier made part of the electoral roll database due to any reason whatsoever. 

(4)Notwithstanding anything contained in section 28 of the National Database and Registration Authority Ordinance, 2000 (VIII of 2000), any authority to whom an application for registration is to be made under the National Database and Registration Authority Ordinance, 2000 (VIII of 2000) shall, on the request of Registration Officer, furnish him such information including extracts from the said application as may be necessary for the purposes of this Act.

 

26.Preparation of preliminary electoral rolls.
(1)Subject to the superintendence, directions and control of the Commission, the Registration Officer shall prepare the electoral rolls by including in the electoral rolls, the name of every person entitled to be enrolled as a voter in an electoral area under this Act. 
(2)A person shall be entitled to be enrolled as a voter in an electoral area if he—
(a)is a citizen of Pakistan; 
(b)is not less than eighteen years of age; 
(c)possesses a National Identity Card issued by the National Database and Registration Authority at any time till the last day fixed for inviting claims, objections and applications for preparation, revision or correction of electoral rolls; 
(d)is not declared by a competent court to be of unsound mind; and 
(e)is or is deemed under section 27 to be resident in the electoral area. 

Explanation.—The National Identity Card issued by the National Database and Registration Authority shall be deemed to be valid for the purposeof registration as a voter or for casting vote in an election, notwithstanding the expiry of its validity period. 

 

27.Place of residence.
(1)Save as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall be deemed to be resident in an electoral area if his temporary or permanent address in the National Identity Card issued by the National Database and Registration Authority lies in the said electoral area. 
(2)A person who is in the service of Pakistan may apply to the Registration Officer for enrolment in the electoral area in which he temporarily resides for being in the service of Pakistan. 
(3)The spouse and children of the person in the service of Pakistan may apply to the Registration Officer for enrolment in the electoral area in which such person is enrolled under sub-section (2). 
(4)Notwithstanding anything contained in this section or any other provision of this Chapter, the registration of a voter at an address other than the permanent or temporary address mentioned in his National Identity Card shall remain valid till he applies for transfer of his vote or for modification or renewal of his National Identity Card in which case his vote shall be registered according to the temporary or permanent address mentioned in the National Identity Card: 

Provided that this sub-section (4) including this proviso shall stand omitted on 31st December, 2018.

 

28.Preliminary publication.—The preliminary electoral rolls prepared under section 26, together with a notice inviting claims, objections and applications for corrections, if any, with respect thereto, shall be published and displayed by the Registration Officer for a period of not less than thirty days, in such manner and form as may be prescribed. 
 
29.Appointment of Revising Authorities.—The Commission shall appoint a Revising Authority for any electoral area or group of electoral areas, for the purpose of receiving and deciding claims, objections and applications for correction of the preliminary electoral rolls. 
 
30.Period for lodging claims and objections.
(1)Any person may file an application for inclusion of a name in the electoral roll, or an objection to, or application for correction of, any entry in the preliminary electoral rolls before the Revising Authority on the prescribed form within a period of thirty days or more, as may be determined by the Commission, next following the date of the publication of the preliminary electoral rolls under section 28. 
(2)The Revising Authority shall reject any claim or objection or application for correction or transfer if it is not made within the period specified in sub-section (1) or is not made in the prescribed manner. 

 

31.Transfer of name from one electoral area to another.—A person may apply for transfer of his name from the electoral roll of one electoral area to the electoral roll of another electoral area with the appropriate Revising Authority if it is preferred before the final publication of the electoral roll under section 35, or, if it is filed after such final publication, with the appropriate Registration Officer under section 37 by filing an application in the prescribed form for the inclusion of his name in the electoral roll of an electoral area where he is resident and wishes to enroll himself as voter with the request to delete his name from the electoral roll in which his name is currently enrolled. 
 
32.Application by the Registration Officer for inclusion of name.—The Registration Officer may, within the period mentioned in section 30, apply to the Revising Authority—
(a)for the inclusion in the electoral roll of the name of any person left out due to inadvertence or the absence of timely information while preparing the preliminary electoral rolls; or
(b)for the exclusion of any name from the electoral roll or any correction of clerical, printing or other error which he is himself authorized to make under section 34. 
 
33.Enquiry into claims and objections.
(1)Except where a claim or objection or an application for correction is rejected under section 30 or is decided without further enquiry being valid prima facie, the Revising Authority shall give its decision after holding a summary enquiry into each claim, objection or application, after giving notice to the parties concerned. 
(2)The decision of the Revising Authority under sub-section (1) shall be final and shall be communicated to the appropriate Registration Officer. 
 
34.Correction of electoral rolls.—The Registration Officer—
(a)shall correct the electoral roll in accordance with the decision of the Revising Authority under section 33; and 
(b)may further correct any clerical, printing or other error subsequently discovered in the roll but not so as to include in it or exclude from it, the name of any voter. 

 

35.Final publication.—After making additions, deletions, modifications or corrections, if any, under section 34, the Registration Officer shall publish, in the prescribed manner and form, the final electoral roll for each electoral area. 
36.Periodical revision of electoral roll.
(1)The Registration Officer shall periodically revise an electoral roll as may be determined by the Commission in the prescribed manner and form—
(a)so as to include the name of any qualified person whose name does not appear in such roll; or 
(b)so as to delete the name of any person who has died or who is or has become disqualified for enrolment; or 
(c)for correcting any entry or for supplying any omission in such roll. 
(2)An electoral roll for any electoral area which is not revised for any reason, shall continue to remain valid and operational. 
(3)While revising the electoral rolls under sub-section (1), the procedure laid down in sections 24 to 35 shall, with necessary changes, apply to revision of the electoral rolls. 

 

37.Enrolment and correction other than periodical revision.—Subject to section 39—
(a)any person whose name is not included in an electoral roll and who claims that he was or is entitled to be enrolled on that roll, may apply to the appropriate Registration Officer, on the prescribed form along with a copy of the National Identity Card issued to him under the National Database and Registration Authority Ordinance, 2000 (VIII of 2000) for the inclusion of his name in the electoral rolls, and if the Registration Officer is satisfied after giving notice or making such enquiry as he may deem necessary, that the applicant was or is entitled to have his name so enrolled, he shall insert the name of such person in the database of the electoral roll and shall also make necessary entry in the master copy of the electoral roll maintained by him; 
(b)any person may apply to the Registration Officer for the correction of any entry in an electoral roll—
(i)if the entry relates to the applicant and the Registration Officer is satisfied after giving such notice and making such enquiry as he may consider necessary that the entry relates to the applicant and is erroneous or defective in any particular, he shall correct the electoral roll accordingly and shall also make necessary correction in the relevant database; 
(ii)if the entry does not relate to the applicant and the Registration Officer is satisfied after giving notice to the person to whom the entry relates and after making such enquiry, as he may consider necessary that such person is dead or is otherwise not entitled to be enrolled as a voter, he shall correct the electoral roll accordingly and shall also make necessary correction in the relevant database; 
(iii)if the person to whom the entry relates appears in response to the notice and gives his option, on the basis of his temporary or permanent address as mentioned in the National Identity Card, for enrolment in the electoral roll of another electoral area of the same district, the Registration Officer shall correct the electoral roll accordingly and if such option requires such person‘s enrolment in the electoral roll of an electoral area of another district, he shall refer the matter to the Registration Officer concerned for the needful to be done, after necessary verification, for enrolment of such person as voter in the relevant electoral roll of that district under intimation to the Commission; and
(iv)if the person does not appear in response to the notice and the entry objected to is required to be transferred to the electoral roll of another electoral area within the district, the Registration Officer shall correct the electoral roll accordingly and if such entry relates to another district shall refer the matter to the Registration Officer concerned with request to enroll such person, after necessary verification, in the electoral roll of that district at his permanent address mentioned in his National Identity Card under intimation to the Commission; 
(c)if a person applies for transfer of vote from the electoral roll of an electoral area to the electoral roll of another electoral area of the same district, the Registration Officer of that district shall, after making such enquiry as he may consider necessary, strike off the name of the applicant from the master copy of the electoral roll in which his name presently exists and include his name in the master copy of the electoral roll of the other electoral area and shall make necessary changes in the database of the electoral rolls accordingly; 
(d)if a person applies for transfer of vote from the electoral roll of an electoral area of a district to the electoral roll of an electoral area of the other district, the Registration Officer of the district to which transfer of vote is sought, shall, after making such enquiry as he may consider necessary, include the name of the applicant in the master copy of the electoral roll of the electoral area requested, make necessary changes in the database of the electoral rolls accordingly and inform the Registration Officer of the district from which transfer of vote is sought and the latter shall strike off the name of the applicant from the master copy of the roll being maintained by him; 
(e)where the Registration Officer rejects application made under this section, he shall record brief reasons of his decision; and 
(f)a person aggrieved by the order of the Registration Officer made under this section may, within thirty days of such order, appeal to the Appellate Authority to be appointed by the Commission and the decision of such Appellate Authority shall be final. 

 

38.Preparation of rolls afresh.—If the Commission considers it necessary, on account of any gross error or irregularity in or in the preparation of an electoral roll for any electoral area or a part of an electoral area or other cogent reasons including changes in the limits of that electoral area or large scale displacement of population due to a natural calamity, it may, for reasons to be recorded, by order direct that the roll for such electoral area or part of electoral area shall stand cancelled and that afresh electoral roll for that electoral area or part of electoral area be prepared in accordance with the provisions of this Act. 

 

39.No revision, correction or transfer after constituency called upon to elect.
(1)No revision of or correction in an electoral roll of an electoral area or inclusion or transfer of a vote from the electoral roll of an electoral area to the electoral roll of another electoral area shall be made nor shall any order under section 38 be made in respect of any electoral roll during the period beginning thirty days before the day on which the term of an Assembly or a local government is due to expire (hereinafter referred to as ‗the cut-off date‘) till announcement of the results of the general election to the Assembly or the local government but it shall not apply to an election to fill a casual vacancy in an Assembly or a local government. 
(2)In case of an election to fill a casual vacancy to an Assembly or a local government, no revision of or correction in an electoral roll of an electoral area or inclusion or transfer of a vote from the electoral roll of an electoral area to the electoral roll of another electoral area shall be made nor shall any order under section 38 be made in respect of any electoral roll at any time after the constituency of which such electoral area forms part has been called upon to elect its representative and before such representative has been elected. 
(3)The Commission shall, through press release and its website, inform the general public about the cut-off date for revision of or correction in an electoral roll of an electoral area or inclusion or transfer of a vote from the electoral roll of an electoral area to the electoral roll of another electoral area. 

 

40.Power of the Commission to modify electoral roll.
(1)Subject to section 39, the Commission may, at any time, order—
(a)the inclusion in an electoral roll of the name of any person entitled to be enrolled on such electoral roll, and such name shall, from the date of such order, form part of the electoral roll; 
(b)the exclusion from an electoral roll of the name of any person who has died or has become disqualified to be a voter, and such name shall, from the date of such order, stand excluded from that roll; and 
(c)the removal of the name of any person from an electoral roll where such removal becomes necessary due to the repetition of the name in the same electoral roll or in the electoral rolls of more than one electoral area. 

 

(2)Before taking decision under clause (b) or clause (c) of sub-section (1), the Commission shall afford a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the person likely to be affected and shall record reasons for its decision. 
41.Maintenance of electoral rolls.
(1)An electoral roll as revised and corrected shall be maintained by the Registration Officer in the prescribed manner and shall be kept open to public inspection; and any person, on payment of prescribed fee, may obtain copies of the electoral roll. 
(2)A candidate or an election agent may obtain a hard and searchable soft copy of the final electoral roll with photographs of the voters in accordance with section 79. 
42.Duration of the electoral rolls.—The electoral roll for any electoral area prepared under this Act shall come into force immediately upon its final publication and shall remain in force until revised. 
43.Information regarding deaths.—On the direction of the Commission, the person in charge of any register of births and deaths in a local government or other authority shall submit relevant information regarding deceased persons from that register on prescribed form to the Registration Officer concerned on quarterly basis, who shall make necessary corrections in the electoral rolls accordingly. 

 

44.Sharing of information with National Database and Registration Authority.—The Registration Officer shall, through the Commission, communicate to the National Database and Registration Authority any change of address of the voter as a result of transfer of his vote under section 34, section 37 or section 40 and any information received under section 43 for necessary entries in the record of the National Database and Registration Authority. 
45.Enrolment only once.—A person shall not be enrolled—
(a)on the electoral roll for any electoral area more than once; or 
(b)on the electoral rolls for more than one electoral area. 
46.Validity of electoral rolls not affected by any mistake.—An electoral roll shall not be invalid by reason of any mis-description of a person enrolled thereon or of omission of the name of any person entitled to be so enrolled or of inclusion of the name of any person not so entitled. 
47.Special measures for enrolment of women voters.
(1)The Commission shall annually publish disaggregated data of registered men and women voters in each National Assembly and Provincial Assembly constituency 
highlighting the difference in number of registered men and women voters. 
(2)Where the variation in the disaggregated data under sub-section (1) is more than ten percent in a constituency , the commission shall take special measure to reduce such variation.
(3)The measures referred to in sub-section (2) shall include action to expedite the issuance of National Identity Cards for women of such constituency by National Database and Registration Authority and for their enrolment as voters in the relevant electoral rolls by the Commission. 
48.Enrolment of non-Muslims etc.
(1)The Commission shall take special measures for registration of non-Muslims, persons with disabilities and transgender citizens in the electoral rolls as voters. 
(2)The measures under sub-section (1) shall include coordinated action with the National Database and Registration Authority to expedite the issuance of National Identity Cards for non-Muslims, persons with disabilities and transgender citizens. 
(3)No activity undertaken in connection with an election by the Commission or National Database and Registration Authority, as the case may be, shall be delayed, postponed or otherwise affected in any manner whatsoever merely on the ground of any measure being taken under this section or section 47. 
49.Departure from normal procedure in exceptional circumstances.
(1)Where the Commission is satisfied that it is not possible to follow the procedure laid down for the preparation or revision of an electoral roll in respect of any electoral area, the Commission may, after recording the exceptional circumstances necessitating deviation from the laid down procedure, direct that an electoral roll for such electoral area shall be prepared in such manner as it deems fit. 
(2)The Commission shall immediately publish the direction issued under sub-section (1) on its website

 

CHAPTER V

CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS TO THE ASSEMBLIES

 

50.Appointment of District Returning Officer.
(1)For election to an Assembly, the Commission shall, in the prescribed manner, appoint a District Returning Officer for each district or a specified area
(a)from amongst its own officers subject to availability; 
(b)by selection from a list of officers provided by the Government or a Provincial Government; or 
(c)from the subordinate judiciary in consultation with the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court. 
(2)Subject to the superintendence, directions and control of the Commission, the District Returning Officer shall coordinate and supervise all work in the district in connection with the conduct of an election and shall also perform such other duties and functions as may be assigned by the Commission.

 

51.Appointment of Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officers.—
(1)The Commission shall, in the prescribed manner, appoint, from amongst its own officers or officers of any Government or corporations, autonomous or semi-autonomous bodies controlled by any Government, or from the subordinate judiciary in consultation with the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court, a Returning Officer for each constituency. 
(2)(A person shall not be appointed as Returning Officer for more than one constituency, save in exceptional circumstances, for reasons to be recorded. 
(3) The Commission may, in the prescribed manner, appoint, from amongst its own officers or officers of any Government, or corporations, autonomous or semi-autonomous bodies controlled by any Government, as many Assistant Returning Officers as may be necessary. 

 

52.Dates of appointments.—The Commission shall make appointments under sections 50 and 51 at least sixty days prior to the issuance of Election Programme save for bye-elections or in exceptional circumstances for reasons to be recorded, in which cases the Commission shall make the appointments simultaneously with the issuance of the Election Programme. 

 

53.Presiding Officers and Polling Officers.
(1)A Returning Officer shall, in the prescribed manner, appoint for each polling station a Presiding Officer and such number of Assistant Presiding Officers and Polling Officers from amongst the officers of any Government or corporations, autonomous or semi-autonomous bodies controlled by any Government to assist the Presiding  Officer as the Returning Officer may consider necessary. 
(2)The Returning Officer shall not appoint a person as a Presiding Officer, Assistant Presiding Officer or Polling Officer who is or has, at any time, been in the employment of a candidate. 
(3)The Returning Officer shall, at least thirty days before the polling day, submit to the District Returning Officer for approval a list of such Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers and Polling Officers including reserved staff as may be determined by the Commission, and no change in the list shall be made thereafter save in exceptional circumstances, for reasons to be recorded, and with the approval of the Commission. 
(4)In case of non-availability of any member of polling staff, the Returning Officer shall appoint a substitute from amongst the reserved staff as approved by the District Returning Officer. 

 

54.Duties of election officials.
(1)A Returning Officer shall do all such acts and things as may be necessary for effective conduct of the poll in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the Rules and directions of the Commission. 
(2)An Assistant Returning Officer shall assist the Returning Officer in the performance of his functions under this Act and may, subject to any condition imposed by the Commission and the control of the Returning Officer, exercise the powers and perform the functions of the Returning Officer. 
(3)A Presiding Officer shall conduct the poll in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the Rules and shall be responsible for maintaining order at the polling station and shall report to the Returning Officer any fact or incident which may affect the conduct or fairness of the poll. 
(4)During the course of the poll, the Presiding Officer may entrust any of his functions to an Assistant Presiding Officer and the Assistant Presiding Officer shall perform the functions so entrusted to him. 
(5)The Returning Officer shall authorize one of the Assistant Presiding Officers to act in place of the Presiding Officer if the Presiding Officer is, at any time during the poll, by reason of illness or other cause, not present at the polling station, or is unable to perform his functions.
(6)The Returning Officer may, at any time during the poll, for reasons to be recorded, suspend any Presiding Officer, Assistant Presiding Officer or Polling Officer, and make such alternate arrangements as he may consider necessary for the performance of the functions of the officer so suspended, whose matter shall be referred to the Commission for initiation of disciplinary proceedings.

 

55.Disciplinary proceedings.
(1)An election official appointed or deputed to perform duties in connection with an election shall be deemed to be under the control, superintendence and discipline of the Commission for the period commencing on and from the date of appointment or deputation till publication of the name of the returned candidate in the official Gazette.
(2)Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law, the Commission may initiate and finalize disciplinary action and impose any penalty against any election official for any act of misconduct provided in the Efficiency and Discipline Rules as applicable to such election official or under any provision of misconduct under this Act, and for this purpose, the Commission shall be deemed to be the Competent Authority under the said Efficiency and Discipline Rules or this Act. 
(3)The Commission may, at any time, for reasons to be recorded in writing, suspend or withdraw any election official, a public servant or any other person in the service of Pakistan who— 
(a)obstructs, or prevents, or attempts to obstruct or prevent, the conduct of a fair and impartial poll; or 
(b)interferes or attempts to interfere with a voter when he casts his vote; or 
(c)influences or attempts to influence in any manner the polling staff or a voter; or 
(d)does any other act calculated to influence the result of the election; or 
(e)disobeys any order, or avoids to carry out any instruction issued by the Commission or any officer authorized to issue any order or instruction or violates any provision of this Act. 
(4)The Commission may appoint an officer to act as an Enquiry Officer or Authorized Officer to initiate and finalize proceedings under the Efficiency and Discipline Rules applicable to the election official concerned against whom action has been taken by the Commission under sub-section (3) or other provision of this Act or by the Returning Officer under sub-section (6) of section 54. 
(5)The Enquiry Officer or Authorized Officer shall complete enquiry proceedings under the Efficiency and Discipline Rules as applicable to the election official concerned or under this Act within thirty days of the reference to him and shall submit the enquiry report to the Commission within seven days of the completion of the enquiry. 
(6)The Commission may impose any penalty provided in the Efficiency and Discipline Rules as applicable to the election official concerned or any penalty provided under this Act. 
(7)An election official aggrieved by a final order passed by the Commission may, within thirty days of receipt of the final order, file an appeal in the relevant Service Tribunal or other judicial forum. 
(8)Where the Commission suspends or withdraws any election official, it may appoint any other election official to perform the duty of the election official suspended or withdrawn.