SC ignores PPP’s full court plea

Apex court adjourns suo motu ruling till today

Hasnaat Malik April 04, 2022


The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned its hearing on the legitimacy of the dismissal of a no-confidence motion and the subsequent dissolution of the National Assembly till 12pm on Tuesday (today), and ignored a plea by PPP's counsel seeking formation of a full court to hear the suo motu case.

During the closely-observed hearing expected to give the ruling, PPP's counsel Farooq H Naek urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to form a full court bench to hear the matter, arguing that the case involved complex matters of the law and therefore all judges of the top court should sit on the bench.
The chief justice asked the PPP counsel to present his formulations and if it would be appropriate, then the court would consider his plea regarding the formation of a full court.

The CJ also asked Naek that if he has no confidence in them, then they may rise from the bench. However, Naek said that he has full confidence on the bench.

Justice Bandial also raised the question of the joint opposition leaders' absence from the parliamentary committee briefing on the alleged foreign conspiracy and further questioned the significance and relevance of the parliamentary committee meeting and its relevance in the matter.

Justice Bandial further asked them regarding the ambit of Article 69 of the Constitution, which states that parliament proceedings could not be challenged in any court of law.

As it adjourned the case, the top court said that it could not decide on the case without listening to everyone. "The ruling cannot come out of thin air," CJ Bandial said as he adjourned the case till 12:05 pm tomorrow.

Farooq H Naek argued before the court today for two hours whereas Raza Rabbani and Makhdoom Ali Khan still have to present their arguments. Naik urged the court to decide on the case today but the court said it needed more time to hear the arguments of other lawyers.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the court's decision will have far-reaching ramifications so it could not make haste in announcing its decision without giving the other party an opportunity to present their argument.

On Sunday, Qasim Suri, the deputy speaker, dismissed the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan citing Article 5. Subsequently, President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on the advice of the prime minister.

Read Opposition cries foul after dismissal of no-trust vote

As a constitutional crisis gripped the country, the apex court took a suo motu notice to resolve the matter. As the hearing started today, a petition filed by the opposition seeking the formation of a full bench to hear the case was dismissed as the CJP said that the formation of a full bench would create delays in other cases.

He asked Farooq H Naek if he had any objections over the five-member bench. Naek said he had full confidence in all judges on the bench.The bench that is seized with the presidential reference seeking the opinion of the court on Article 63-A is also hearing the suo motu case.

On March 21, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial had formed a five-member bench for the hearing on the presidential reference that argued for lifetime disqualification of lawmakers for defying party orders.
The bench is headed by Justice Bandial while other members were Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail.

On Sunday, Qasim Suri, the deputy speaker, dismissed the no-confidence motion against PM Imran over allegations that a foreign power wanted regime change in Pakistan. The opposition said the speaker committed an unconstitutional act and approached the top court as well as resorted to strong protests.

Subsequently, the SC barred all state institutions from taking any “extra-constitutional” steps in the wake of the dismissal of the no-confidence vote against Imran Khan and the subsequent dissolution of the National Assembly by the president. The apex court directed the AGP to determine the constitutionality of the ruling of the deputy speaker.


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