SC forms larger bench to hear petitions

Qaiser Zulfiqar April 24, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Saturday constituted a five-member larger bench for hearing similar constitutional petitions against the 18th Amendment Act, especially Clause 175-A that deals with the appointment of judges to the superior courts.

The five-member bench, led by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk and comprising Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Rahmat Hussain Jafferi and Justice Tariq Pervez, will start hearing cases from April 28. The first petition against the 18th amendment was filed by Nadeem Ahmed advocate through his counsel Akram Sheikh advocate. Another petition was filed by the Rawalpindi Bar Association through Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry advocate whereas the third petition was filed by the Wattan Party through its Chairman Barrister Zafar Ullah Khan.

The Supreme Court Bar Association and chief of his own faction of the Muslim League Ejazul Haq have also challenged the 18th constitutional amendment in the apex court. The petitioners have requested the apex court to strike down the 18th amendment as it was against the constitution. Akram Shiekh pleaded in his petition that the procedure proposed in 18th amendment for appointment of judges in the superior judiciary “is the fourth attack on the judiciary after March 9, 2007”.

He prayed the court to define the parameters according to which the parliament can make laws. Ikram Chaudhry maintained that the addition of Article 175-A was ultra vires of the constitution therefore it may be declared inconsistent with the basic spirit of the constitution. Ejazul Haq and the Supreme Court Bar Association pleaded in their petitions that it was not the mandate of the incumbent parliament to alter the constitution as it was the job of a constituent assembly. The incumbent assembly is a legislative body therefore the court may strike down the 18 amendment, they maintained.

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