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Senate elections case: AG presents arguments before top court

ISLAMABAD: Attorney General Khalid Javed on Thursday resumed his arguments before the Supreme Court over the presidential reference seeking opinion of the court about holding Senate elections with open ballot.

A five-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising of Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi, hearing the reference.

Attorney General argued that in this matter an amendment in the constitution not required it needs interpretation of the constitution and the supreme court could interpret the constitution.

“The fundamental question of the matter is, who will interpret the article,” Justice Ijaz posed question.

“The reference is based on this question that the supreme court should interpret Article 226 of the constitution,” state counsel said. The constitution has mandated the court to interpret the constitution, AG said.

The court could decide a dispute between two governments, hear appeals against high courts and provide an advice or guideline over a reference, Khalid Javed said.

“The parliament legislates and the court interprets it,” Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked.

The Supreme Court has been an appellate forum as well as a constitutional court, AG argued.

“The court have to act with caution as there is not appellate forum after the supreme court,” Justice Yahya Afridi remarked.

“The court had authorized the parliament to recognize Bangladesh,” Attorney General said. “Hitler was also an elected representative. If tomorrow someone will call himself a Caliph, the court definitely wouldn’t permit it. The court had authorized the president to dissolve the assembly but in Nawaz Sharif case the court declared void to a presidential decree to dissolve the assembly,” Attorney General argued. “It is upto the court how it interprets Article 226,” AG said.

“The parliament could not interpret the constitution but legislate a law. I won’t advice to send the issue of the Article 226 to the parliament,” he said.

“The law will be applicable where the constitution will be silent,” Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed. “And it is my case,” AG replied.

“The court has interpreted political matters scores of times,” AG stated.

“Court evades the intra party issues or matters between different parties,” the bench observed.

“The court has reviewed political issues under suo moto notices,” Justice Yahya Afridi remarked.

“The court has sent back most political issues to the parliament despite the authority delegated by the constitution,” AG said.

“A nine-member bench of the apex court has decided the jurisdiction in various spheres,” AG said. “The presidential reference has brought before the five-member bench and now you have to give answer on it,” the AG stated.

The court adjourned further hearing of the case until Monday.

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