SC rejects plea seeking judges, generals’ accountability

PCJP hears Watan Party’s petition in his chamber against objections raised by Registrar Office

Hasnaat Mailk February 28, 2018
Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a constitutional petition, seeking accountability of superior court judges and army generals through parliament.

The petition also called for making ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ part of the code of conduct of the judges.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar heard the appeal, filed by Watan Party through lawyer Barrister Zafarullah Khan, in his chamber after the Registrar Office raised objections on the petition.

Earlier, the registrar stated that the petition was based on mala fide intents, scandalous as evident from its contents, adding that “it cannot be entertained under Order XVII, Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules 1980”.

Likewise, the office objected that the petitioner have not approached any other appropriate forum available to them under the law for the same relief. “They have also not provided any justification for not doing so.”

The chief justice, while hearing appeal against the registrar order, rejected the plea by the Watan Party, sustaining the objections raised by the registrar.

In the petition, the Watan Party filed the plea that: oaths taken by judges of higher judiciary may include the words ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’; ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ may be made part of the Code of Conduct of the judges; the SC may not take over the jurisdiction of parliament or overlap the jurisdiction that challenges stability of democracy; all accountability of higher judiciary be conducted by a parliamentary committee since the “SC itself has failed to conduct its own accountability”; and that the SC and army generals may surrender their accountability to public through parliament.

The petition states that concept of accountability is being defined and applied discriminately to the civilian and judges and generals are protected as immune from accountability, adding that there are so many cases which are pending in the Supreme Judicial Council and Army Boards.

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“The higher judiciary and military courts have become secret cows,” says the petition.

It is stated that the final judgment announced on July 28 regarding the disqualification of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not enhance the credibility of judicial system, adding that democratic system has suffered a setback and the democracy is very fragile and runs already on rumours. “Parliament powers are being exercised by other institutions.”

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Meanwhile, the chief justice will also hear an appeal in chamber on March 2 against the Registrar Office’s objections on the constitutional petition, filed by ex-servicemen, who requested the Supreme Court that the inquiry committee report on the Dawn Leaks issue should be made public.

In May 2017, 17 retired military officers – led by Brigadier (retd) Arbi Khan – filed a constitutional petition in the top court under Article 184(3), making former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan respondents. The petition was filed by advocate Sardar Ghazi.

The Registrar Office returned the petition by raising objections. Later, an appeal was moved against the registrar’s order. The chief justice will hear the appeal in chamber tomorrow (March 2).