Suo motu action: Top court to settle question of legality in NAB plea bargain

Chief justice summons attorney general, NAB chief


Naeem Sahoutara September 09, 2016
PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Thurs­day served notices to the attorney-general, chairman and prosecutor-general of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other authorities concerned in a suo motu case on voluntary return of misappropriated funds in graft cases.

Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali had initiated suo motu action on voluntary returns in NAB cases on a note of the SC registrar. The registrar’s note contained observations of a two-judge bench in a civil appeal filed by the NAB.

The bench, comprising Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Mushir Alam, had observed in its order that “after the voluntary return, the accused goes scot-free without any stigma.”

The registrar’s note stated that the two-judge court also observed that “the said provision is in conflict with the Constitution, therefore, it needs to be examined.”

Taking notice of the issue, CJP Jamali converted the registrar’s note into suo motu proceedings and directed the office to fix the matter at Islamabad in the last week of this month. Notices were also issued to the Attorney-General, NAB’s prosecutor-general and chairman, as well as other authorities concerned for the next date.

Case history

Last week, the two-judges had dismissed an appeal filed by the NAB against the order passed by an accountability court in Karachi, which had denied them physical remand of a suspect allegedly involved in a case relating to corruption of Rs400,000.

Observing that the provision in the anti-graft law that allows for voluntary return of the embezzled/ misappropriated money was in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution, since it promoted corruption, they had directed the office to refer the matter to the CJP to constitute a larger bench to decide the legality of such provisions regarding voluntary return.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2016.

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