LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday admitted a petition for hearing which calls on the court to restrain Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani from exercising his powers during the Federal Budget 2012-13, since he has been convicted for committing contempt of court.
Justice Umar Ata Bandyal admitted the petition by Advocate Shahnsha Shamil Paracha and observed that since the point raised by the petitioner was of “grave importance”, a larger bench should hear the case. He forwarded the case to the LHC chief justice with a request to constitute a larger bench for further proceedings on the petition.
Advocate AK Dogar advanced his initial arguments on behalf of the petitioner and said that since April 26, 2012 when Supreme Court passed its order, Gilani had ceased to be the prime minister of the country.
He said the respondent (Gilani) should be asked to explain under which law he and his cabinet were still holding their offices despite having been convicted of contempt.
The counsel argued that on April 26, the prime minister left the Supreme Court premises as a common citizen as he had been convicted and there was no need of any further procedure for his disqualification.
Justice Bandyal pointed out that the prime minister had the right to file an appeal against his conviction. The counsel, however pointed out that the prime minister had already made it clear that neither he nor any of his successors will write a letter to Swiss authorities, therefore, there was no likelihood of securing any relief from the Supreme Court in the appeal.
The lawyer further said that all expenses which Gilani incurred after his conviction, should be recovered from his personal account and his ministers, as the respondent had ceased to be a prime minster in view of Article 91 of the Constitution and his cabinet had lost its legal status.
All official visits conducted by the respondent following his conviction be called into explanation and proceedings should be initiated against him for recovery of the funds used by him from the treasury of public exchequer during that span, he added.
After hearing the arguments, the judge issued notices to respondents and sent the case to the LHC chief justice for the formation of a larger bench. The attorney general was also asked to assist the court on the next date of hearing.