Verdict on PCO judges appeal reserved


Qaiser Zulfiqar April 29, 2010

ISLAMABAD: A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk on Thursday reserved its verdict till Friday (today) on the maintainability of appeals made by PCO judges against the contempt of court notices issued to them after the July 31 judgement of the apex court.

Basit, counsel for Justice Hasnat and Justice Shabar Raza Rizvi, also raised a point before the bench of whether the administration officer of the SC registrar office can return the appeal with objections or not. The court will announce its judgment on Friday (today). The five-member bench led by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk and comprising Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Justice Jawad S. Khawaja, Justice Rahmat Hussain Jafferi and Justice Tariq Pervez Thursday resumed hearing of the contempt of court notices to the former judges who took oath under the provisional constitutional order after November 3, ignoring the Supreme Court’s restraining orders.

Dr Basit maintained that he filed an intra-court appeal in the registrar office which the administration officer returned with objections. He pleaded that under the Supreme Court Law 1980, he is not authorised to return the appeal. Therefore the bench must determine first whether the administration officer of the registrar office has the authority to return the appeal. Earlier Basit also pleaded before the bench that the contempt of court notice issued to the judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order is ambiguous.

If the contempt of court notices were issued in accordance with the Contempt of Court Act 1976 then the contempt of court proceedings cannot be initiated unless the intra-court appeal is decided. And if these notices were issued in accordance with the Contempt of Court Act 2003 then the same act was also eliminated under the new 18th Amendment. Therefore the proceedings cannot be initiated against his clients, Basit argued. The lawyer also raised an objection that the intra-court appeal he filed in the registrar office which the administration officer returned with objections was later fixed for hearing before the five-member larger bench.

However a single-member bench of the court can hear the appeal in his chamber, while fixing it before the fivemember larger bench he is losing the right to appeal before another bench for hearing of the intra-court appeal. The bench heard the arguments and reserved its decision on the point whether the administration officer of the registrar office can return the intra-court appeal under the law or not and adjourned the hearing till Friday (today).

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