Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Supreme Court not takes suo moto notices on whims: CJP Bandial


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Monday clarified about the supreme court’s suo moto notice of the deputy speaker’s ruling.

During hearing of the Presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A, the CJP said that the apex court does not take suo moto notice on whims.

The Supreme Court took the last suo moto notice after consultations between 12 judges of the top court and they were all unanimous that it is a constitutional matter and were opined that the Supreme Court should take suo moto notice of the matter, the CJP said.

The CJP was alluding to the ruling by deputy speaker Qasim Suri who had rejected the no-confidence motion against then prime minister Imran Khan citing a violation of Article 5.

PML-N lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan sought a delay in the hearing as he would return to Pakistan on May 15, his junior lawyer told the court. The court asked him to return early as the case could not be delayed for that long.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Bandial said the court wanted to give its opinion on Article 63-A without delay. “The interpretation of Article 63-A was necessary for the parliamentary democracy,” the judge said, adding that the protection of the Constitution was the duty of this court.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the question before the court only pertained to the interpretation of Article 63-A. “The interpretation is enforced in the centre or the province that does not concern this court,” he added. “The decision of the Supreme Court will be binding to all the parties,” he added.

The court said it will also listen to Azhar Siddique, the PTI counsel, after Babar Awan.

The additional attorney general said that the new attorney general also wanted to present his arguments in the case.

The additional AG said that the disqualification reference under Article 63-A has been in pending with the election commission, one of the parties will file appeal in the Supreme Court.

PTI’s Babar Awan asked the Supreme Court to read articles 62 and 63-A together. The PTI leader said he would assist the court in the constitutional debate regarding the case.

“If the election commission can declare a member ‘dishonest’, the bench posed question. “It is upto the election commission to declare a member ‘dishonest’ or ‘honest’, Babar Awan said.

“If members cast their votes to another party in a coalition government, will it be defection,” Justice Ijaz asked. “If the member will stand disqualified only when he joins another party,” Justice Jamal Mandokhel questioned.

“If a member wins in the name of a party and thinks he is in a wrong place, he should resign,” PTI counsel said. “He should also resign if he goes against his party due to conscience,” Justice Ijaz asked.

“Members used to resign under pressure or with consent in Pakistan, PTI members who had cast vote to someone else are still affiliated with the party,” Awan said.

“The legislators while de-seated over defection, should be declared disqualified or not,” Justice Mandokhel questioned. “This situation has been first time brought to the court, we have to open the Pendora’s Box to look within,” PTI lawyer said.

“The constitution is a live document, we have to interpret it not only for today but for the coming generations,” CJP remarked.

“The parliament seat stands vacant under Article 63 and 64 but both are not similar, we have to access the objective of the constitutional clauses,” Justice Bandial said. “We have to see the principles of the constitution not individual acts of people,” the top judge further said.

“Your client is concerned over non-implementation of the court’s opinion about the Senate election, why the matter was not petitioned to the court if your client had concerns over it,” chief justice questioned.

The court adjourned further hearing of the presidential reference till 11am on tomorrow.


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