SC may put off Article 63-A reference till April 4

CJ will hear cases at top court’s Lahore registry from March 31 to April 1

Our Correspondent March 27, 2022


The presidential reference on the interpretation of Article 63-A, which deals with defection and disqualification of lawmakers, may be put off till April 4 as the country’s top judge will hear cases from March 31 to April 1 at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry. This might happen if the parties in the case do not complete their arguments by March 30.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has formed six benches for the hearing of the cases at the Lahore registry.

The first bench, which he will head himself, will also include Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Ayesha Malik.

The second bench will comprise of Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar; while the third one will include Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.

The fourth bench will include Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail; while the firth one will comprise of Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, and Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, The sixth bench will include Justice Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan.

A larger bench of the Supreme Court, led by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Ahsan, Justice Miankhel, Justice Akhtar and Justice Mandokhail, is currently hearing a presidential reference which sought an interpretation of Article 63-A.

Read SC larger bench to hear presidential reference

On Thursday, CJP Bandial had observed that discarding a lawmaker’s vote during no-confidence proceedings was “insulting”. He had added that a member of the National Assembly could not be barred from voting.

Interestingly, a diversion was witnessed in the judges’ observations. Two members of the bench believed that an MNA had the right to vote in a no-confidence motion.

However, two judges were agreeing with Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan’s contentions against horse-trading or floor-crossing.

Senior lawyers believe that Justice Mandokhail’s observations surprised many legal experts, who were considering that the bench’s opinion would be unanimous in the case.

A day earlier, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had adjourned the proceedings of the much-anticipated session till March 28 (Monday) without the tabling of the opposition parties’ no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

This move irked the opposition parties to issue a warning to the speaker that any further delay in tabling of the motion would lead to protest.

The session began with the recitation of the Holy Quran and prayers for late MNA Khayal Zaman, former president Rafiq Tarar and Senator Rehman Malik. However, the NA speaker announced that it would be adjourned in light of parliamentary convention.

It is parliamentary convention that the first sitting after the death of an MNA is limited to prayers for the soul of the departed and tributes other lawmakers wish to pay them.

On March 8, the united opposition front had filed a requisition for a no-confidence motion against PM Imran, pinning its hopes for its success on the estranged members of the ruling party and its allies.

Under the Constitution, the speaker was bound to hold the session within 14 days. However, he did not summon the session until March 21 [the 14th day].

Voting on the resolution will be held at least three to seven days after it has been laid before the National Assembly.

For making the no-trust motion successful, the opposition needs to have the support of at least 172 of the total 342 members in the lower house of parliament to show a simple majority -- leading to the choosing of a new prime minister.


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