CJP hopes govt won’t create hurdles in interpretation of Article 63-A

Remarks court has to interpret this article for guidance of posterity: Says taking suo motu notice, SC’s exclusive prerogative: Remarks 12 apex court judges were unanimous to take notice on then NA deputy speaker’s ruling: Justice Ijaz says no one will be allowed to disrespect apex court as every aggrieved party has to come to the court

By: 24 News
Published: 01:07 PM, 9 May, 2022
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Supreme Court of Pakistan Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial has expressed his hope that the government will not create any hurdles in the interpretation of Article 63-A as it is aware of the importance of presidential reference, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

CJP Bandial expressed these remarks while hearing presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution on Monday. 

A five-judge larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Bandial and comprised of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel heard the reference.

The CJP remarked that the presidential reference and constitutional petitions were being heard by the court, adding that after PTI lawyer Babar Awan, the court would also listen to the arguments of PML-Q lawyer Azhar Siddique. He said that the court would like to give its opinion on the legal queries. 

Justice Ijaz remarked that the court would have to interpret Article 63-A. 

“It’s not our problem that the interpretation hits the Centre or provinces, all parties are bound to accept the apex court opinion”, he added. 

PML-Q lawyer Azhar Siddique told the court that its order was not complied in the Senate election case, adding that rumours were rife that after taking charge of his office, the new attorney general would withdraw the presidential reference. 

On this, CJP Bandial remarked that he hoped that the government would be aware of the importance of the presidential reference and would not create hurdles in its interpretation

Chief Justice of Pakistan Bandial remarked that the court had to interpret the Article 63-A for the guidance of future progeny of the country. 

The additional attorney general said that the new attorney general would also like to present his arguments before the court. He said that a reference seeking ineligibility of members under Article 63-A was also sub judice in the Election Commission of Pakistan and the commission would also become a party and file an appeal. 

The CJP remarked that though the references had been filed against the dissidents in the ECP but the legal question still remained there. 

“Article 63-A is part of the Constitution. Despite filing of reference in the ECP, the court still can interpret this article,” the top judge declared. 

PTI lawyer Babar Awan presented his arguments during the hearing of the reference. 

The bench directed the PTI lawyer to complete his arguments within an hour tomorrow.  

The CJP remarked that the Supreme Court had to interpret the Article 63-A for the guidance of posterity. He said the court had no concern regarding PTI reference against its renegade members. He asked the lawyer to focus on the points raised in the presidential reference. 

CJP Bandial also remarked ‘the apex court takes suo motu notices on its own, not on the direction of anyone’. He explained that before taking suo motu notice on the ruling of then National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri, 12 Supreme Court judges held consultation on this matter. 

The CJP said that all 12 judges were in agreement that it was a constitutional matter and the apex court must intervene. 

“No matter if people keep criticizing the court, we will continue performing our constitutional responsibility,” the CJP added.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan warned that the court would not allow anyone to disrespect the apex court. “Remember, every aggrieved party has to come to the court. We will not allow anyone to heap criticism on courts if he doesn’t like the verdict,” he added.

Justice Ijaz, however, said if someone thought that he would go against his party following the awakening of his ‘conscience’, then he should first tender his resignation. 

CJP Bandial told the PTI lawyer that he would like to mention his client’s shortsightedness in the Senate election case. Why the then government did not take action over the Senate election case, the CJP asked adding that ‘the court does not take action if a party stages protest in front of Election Commission office.’

The CJP further said that the government had failed to provide proof of corruption in Reko Diq case. 

“We give verdict if both parties are present in the court,” the top judge added. 

The CJP said that the executive was responsible in both the Steel Mills and Reko Diq cases. He told the lawyer if petitions were submitted to the court, then court would decide the cases. 

Mr Awan contended that the Election Commission was responsible for not complying with the court order in the Senate election case.

Justice Mandokhel asked if the Election Commission could declare someone ‘liar’ and ‘dishonest’ after his defection. 

Mr Awan argued that assembly members in the biggest province of the country openly cast their vote to the rival party in clear violation of their party discipline. He said those who thought that they were ‘stuck’ in the wrong party then they should tender their resignations. 

Mr Awan also contended that in Pakistan resignations were taken after exerting pressure, and sometimes members handed in their resignations with their free will. He rued that it was strange that PTI dissidents were still attached to the party despite the fact that they voted in favour of its rival party.  

Justice Mandokhel wondered was it necessary to declare a ‘defector’ ineligible to contest election when he could be de-seated from the assembly. He observed that the court might extend the period of his de-seating. 

Mr Awan said that it was the first case of its kind. The court has to open Pandora ’s Box to reach some conclusion, the lawyer added. 

Reporter Imanat Gishkori