CJP forms larger bench to hear presidential reference

CJP takes suo moto notice of apprehension undermining criminal justice system
CJP takes suo moto notice of apprehension undermining criminal justice system

ISLAMABAD, Mar 22 (APP):Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday constituted a five-member larger bench to hear the presidential reference seeking the apex court’s opinion on Article 63-A and a petition of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).

The larger bench headed by the CJP and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel will hear the presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution and the SCBA petition for restraining political parties from holding public meetings in Islamabad before voting on the no-confidence motion on March 24.

According to the written order of the apex court’s hearing held on Monday, the Inspector General of Police, Islamabad had filed a report in relation to the incident at the Sindh House. The IGP assured that strict measures were being taken to avoid any repetition of such an incident anywhere in the Red Zone in relation to the moving and voting upon of the no-confidence motion.

The IGP stated that the FIR (first information report) already registered would be vigorously pursued in accordance with law.
The Advocate General Sindh expressed strong reservations as to the FIR and desired for the province’s version to be put on the record. The Advocate General Islamabad assured that any representation made by the province through the Advocate General would be dealt with in accordance with law.

The SCBA counsel stated that the political parties had filed the no-confidence resolution, and expressed strong reservations and concerns that the speaker had summoned the session of the National Assembly requisitioned by the said parties for March 25, which was beyond the stipulated 14 days period.

“Our attention has been drawn to order issued by the speaker in this regard. We are not inclined to take up this matter as it is collateral to the questions of constitutional interpretation raised before the court not only in terms of CP 2/2022 but also the reference filed by the President today in terms of Article 186 (Reference 1/2022). In any event, for such matters the Constitution envisages a remedy before Parliament itself,” the court order read.

The order stated that the Attorney General had made a categorical statement before the court that the Federal Government would not in any manner hinder or obstruct, or interfere with, any members of the National Assembly (including those of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) who wish to attend the session summoned as above, and to participate in, and cast their votes, on the no confidence resolution.

Regarding the “grave concerns” expressed about political rallies in Islamabad and the influx of supporters into the Federal Capital and especially in the Red Zone, the AGP suggested that representatives of the political parties sit with Islamabad’s administration and work out a mechanism to the holding of rallies, as well as their days and venues. The apex court dubbed this a reasonable and practical suggestion.

The written order stated that counsel for various political parties accepted the suggestion, but highlighted that the counsel for PPP, PML-N and JUI-F have expressed reservations as to whether any fruitful outcome will be achieved. However, the order said that the counsel maintained that good faith effort would be made by all.

The court directed the AGP to coordinate with the political parties’ counsel to arrange the meetings with the administration on an urgent basis as suggested by him.
The order stated that the court was cognizant that the matter was time-constrained and directed all counsel to file concise statements of their submissions by or before March 24, so that the oral hearing could be completed within an acceptable timeframe.

The court stated that the two matters would be heard together. “For this purpose notice is issued to the petitioner SCBA. Notices are also issued in relation to the Reference to the political parties who are before us in terms of our previous order.”