Two judges’ opinion ‘not relevant’ in polls delay case, says CJP Bandial
ISLAMABAD: 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.
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 case.
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.
The two SC judges including Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail issued a detailed dissenting note on Punjab and KP election suo motu notice taken by the chief justice.
The dissenting note stated that the CJP has the authority to take sou motu notice and constitute special benches but it will result in criticism and affect the public s trust in the Supreme Court.
The judges stated that it is high time that they revisit the power of the one-man show enjoyed by the office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and his powers must be regulated.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail in their dissenting note rejected the pleas pertaining to elections in Punjab and KP and said that the LHC should announce the verdict within three days.
Ahead of today’s hearing, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) filed pleas in the SC to become respondents in the case.
As 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.
During the proceedings,
On Monday, the SC sought assurances from the federal government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the election delay case.
CJP Umar Ata Bandial said that it is unfortunate that all the respondents are confronting with each other. The federal government and PTI have to assure that they want a transparent election or not.
He observed that the election date has been extended but does Article 254 allow this? CJP said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is just a constitutional institute. He issued notice to the ECP too.
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.