SC resumes hearing PTI petition against delay in polls
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday resumed hearing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf s (PTI) petition against delay in general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, ARY News reported.
A five-member bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail is hearing the plea.
Ahead of the hearing, the SC Registrar’s Office accepted the separate pleas of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) to become parties in the case.
During yesterday’s hearing, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday observed that the opinion of two top court judges in the previous Supreme Court (SC) verdict over the Punjab and KP elections is not relevant in the case concerning the postponement of Punjab Assembly polls.
READ: FEDERAL CABINET APPROVES DRAFT LAW TO CURTAIL CJP SUO MOTU POWERS
The CJP remarks came after two Supreme Court judges Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail called for revisiting the “one-man show” powers enjoyed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial.
s proceedings commenced, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Usman Awan mentioned the dissenting notes of two SC judges and raised questions over the maintainability of the PTI s petition. “The elections matter should be referred to the Lahore High Court (LHC) after issuance of two judges opinion wherein they dismissed suo motu verdict by 3 to 4.
At this, CJP Bandial said that the present case is a completely different matter.
CJP Bandial said that the “question in front of the court is simple one, can the ECP postpone the election date or not”?
“We don t want to stretch the matter”, the top judge remarked, adding “If the ECP has the authority [to extend the date] then the matter will be over”.
“If the political temperature stays so high, problems will increase,” CJP added.
At this, PPP lawyer Farooq H. Naek said that there was “anarchy and fascism” in the country today.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned whether ECP has right to change the election schedule announced by President Alvi? “The point is that does ECP has right to delay elections beyond 90 days,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan said.
At this, the CJP also second Justice Ijaz and asked can ECP change the election date given by president?
The AGP also requested the court to constitute a full bench to preside over the case.
At one point during the hearing, the CJP proposed a pay cut for himself and other judges for carrying out elections in the country as government did not have funds to give to ECP for polls.
Govt to limit CJP’s suo motu powers
Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar on Tuesday presented the judicial reforms bill which aimed to curtail the suo motu powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP).
Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar tabled the judicial reforms bill to the National Assembly (NA) after its approval from the federal cabinet.
Under the new legislation, the decision for suo motu notice will be taken by three senior judges of the Supreme Court (SC) and they will have to fix the appeal within 14 days.
The new legislation will end sole power of the chief justice to take the suo motu notice. It was also stated that the judiciary will be bound to fix the hearing of the case within 15 days to provide immediate and interim relief.
It added that the party will be allowed to change its lawyer in a suo motu case. Under Article 184, the matter will be presented before a judges committee. The committee will review the case and later it will form a five-member committee for any kind of constitutional interpretation.
The act will be taken into effect on all verdict of the high courts and the Supreme Court (SC).
Full court bench
Separately, a resolution was also passed in the NA yesterday calling for the formation of a full SC bench to hear constitutional matters.
The resolution, moved by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, further stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan is a constitutional body and any trespassing in ECP’s domain should be avoided and let the commission hold polling in a conducive environment as per its prerogative.
The resolution called for simultaneous elections for all the assemblies under impartial and caretaker setups in a free and fair manner to achieve goal of real political stability in the country.
PTI had challenged the election commission s decision to change the date of election in Punjab and KP. Punjab and KPK assemblies speakers Sibtain Khan and Mushtaq Ghani have filed a joint constitutional petition on behalf of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf.
The federation, Punjab and KPK were made parties along with the ministry of parliamentary affairs, ministry of law and the cabinet in the PTI petition.
In the petition, PTI sought directions for the federal government to ensure law and order, provisions of funds and security personnel as per the ECP s need to hold the elections.
It also requested the court to direct the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor to announce the date for elections to the provincial assembly.