Delicate issue: SC rejects Kalabagh dam review plea

Judge observes that the review jurisdiction did not allow re-hearing of cases already decided


Hasnaat Malik August 25, 2016
On January 9, 2015, a bench headed by former chief justice Nasirul Mulk, dismissed identical petitions for the construction of Kalabagh dam, observing that it was responsibility of the government to convene a meeting of Council of Common Interests to resolve the issue. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court declared on Wednesday that the review petition seeking the apex court to instruct the executive for building the Kalabagh dam was not maintainable.

The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, had reserved judgment on July 18 over a petition filed by the Engineers Study Forum under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

AK Dogar, representing the Forum, had argued that the construction of Kalabagh dam was a matter of public importance and the petition pertained to fundamental rights. Dogar said the court could advise parliament in this regard in view of its public importance.

Pakistan, he feared, would be facing a severe water crisis in the next 10 years if Kalabagh dam was not constructed. He requested the SC to grant adequate opportunity for hearing.

However, Justice Gulzar Ahmad, a co-author of the four-page judgment, observed that the review jurisdiction did not allow re-hearing of cases already decided more so when the court “has given conscious and deliberate decision on the point of law … while disposing of the constitution petition before it”.

Similarly, points not raised at the time of hearing of the constitution petition “cannot be allowed to be raised in the review proceeding”, says the order.

Similarly, the court maintained that the court was not bound to give indefinite hearing to the counsel appearing for a party before it nor the counsel could claim such a privilege.

“It is the function of Court to regulate hearing of the matters fixed before it and at the same time to ensure that it has given adequate time to the counsel for hearing in a given case. What is the adequate time for hearing of a given case, it is not for the counsel appearing for a party before the Court to decide rather it is more a function of the Court.”

It also noted that the court at the time of handing over its judgment was fully conscious of its implications and had in mind all the issues which were raised by AK Dogar. “The review petition accordingly is not maintainable, (and) is dismissed.”

On January 9, 2015, a bench headed by former chief justice Nasirul Mulk, dismissed identical petitions for the construction of Kalabagh dam, observing that it was responsibility of the government to convene a meeting of Council of Common Interests to resolve the issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.

 

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