The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) has called for three Supreme Court judges including the chief justice to be charged with misconduct – and more serious offences for changing the presidential election schedule.
On July 24, the Supreme Court ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to bring forward the election from August 6 (Ramazan 27) to July 30. The PML-N government had sought the change, stating that legislators would be busy with prayers on Ramazan 27
The LHCBA general house, at a meeting on Tuesday, adopted a resolution asking the acting president to send a reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed – the judges on the bench which made the decision to reschedule the election to the Supreme Judicial Council.
Changing the election schedule was not in the apex court’s domain, the resolution stated. The Supreme Court’s order represented a subversion of the Constitution, it said.
The lawyers declared that the presidential election on the order of the Supreme Court did not have legal or constitutional validity and the bar did not accept it. They also demanded that the chief election commissioner and provincial election commissioners resign immediately for their failure to conduct the election on the scheduled date.Earlier, addressing the bar members, former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir said that the court had recently passed a series of one-sided decisions. As in previous cases, the SC had not heard all parties in the presidential election case.
Jahangir said that if the decision were overturned on appeal, it would have a bad effect on national politics. She accused the SC of taking over the administrative powers of the government and the Election Commission.
She said that the legal fraternity would not accept the extension of the chief justice of Pakistan, who is due to retire later this year. She said that lawyers would celebrate the end of his tenure by distributing sweets.
She accused the courts of pandering to the media. “The decisions of the courts are different for the media and different on the order sheets. The judges do not write in order sheets what they say during proceedings,” she said.
LHCBA President Abid Saqi said that the bar stood for the rule of law and the Constitution and had always raised its voice against dictatorship, whether military or judicial. He said that the three SC judges should be tried under Article 6 of the Constitution, which deals with high treason.
Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Syed Qalb-e-Hussain, former LHCBA president Ahmad Awais and Mian Jamil Akhtar also spoke on the occasion, criticising the Supreme Court verdict.
The speeches were repeatedly interrupted by groups of lawyers chanting slogans, some against the Supreme Court and some in praise of it.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013.
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