Supreme Court rejects appeal to constitute full court

SC decides to hear parties first, lawyers seek time on matter of constituting full court; CJP stresses on parliamentary party’s empowerment; Remarks unless parliamentary party is made autonomous, way of hereditary politics will never be checked: Justice Ahsan remarks parliamentary party is given the right to decide about vote, not the party head according to Article 63-A: Fool-proof security around Red Zone area | Shujaat, PPP, JUI file petitions to become party | Hamza files plea to form full court bench

By: News Desk
Published: 10:30 AM, 25 Jul, 2022
Supreme Court rejects appeal to constitute full court
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Three members bench of the Supreme Court (SC) has rejected the petition from the ruling parties and the bar to form a full court to hear the case about the ruling of the Punjab Deputy Speaker along with the review petition of Article 63A on Monday.

The court has adjourned the hearing on Ch Parvez Elahi’s petition against the ruling of the Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari in the election of the Chief Minister till tomorrow (Tuesday) 11:30 pm. Lawyers to present arguments on merits of the case tomorrow.

The court said that according to the constitution of Pakistan, the parliamentary party gives instructions to vote. The court further said in its decision that the Supreme Court has already given a brief decision on Article 63A on May 17.

On the appeal of the full court from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as a party in Ch Parvez Elahi’s petition against the ruling of the Punjab Deputy Speaker, CJP Justice Bandial said Hamza Shehbaz needed solid grounds to retain Punjab Chief Minister.  He said today, that the highest vote-gainer is out and a candidate who has taken only 179 votes is the Chief Minister.

The Supreme Court has decided to hear all the parties first and then decide whether to form a full court or not.

The hearing in the SC started after a break at 5:30 pm sharp and Chief Justice said they have considered making a full court, but then thought should first look at the facts of the case. On this, Hamza Shehbaz's lawyer and others asked for time to consult with their parties in case of not form a full court.

On this argument from the lawyers, Justice Ejaz said you may want to make a full court on your request, then that is fine, otherwise no. Justice Ejaz also remarked, you probably want people (judges) of your will.

Responding to it, Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar said no one is talking about the judges of their own will. He added that if the revision appeal is approved after a hearing, there will be no need for a run-off election.

Chief Justice said they decide the cases according to the conscience and the court will take the decision in the matter after listening to the PPP’s lawyer Farooq H Naik as a petitioner.

During the hearing, CJP Justice Bandial said Hamza Shehbaz needed solid grounds to retain Punjab Chief Minister.  He said today, that the highest vote-gainer is out and a candidate who has taken only 179 votes is the Chief Minister.

Justice Bandial said it was not expected that the new opposition would walk out if the assembly was restored. He added the court had decided in good faith but the crisis is increasing with each passing day since April. He expressed worry over the current economic situation in the country.

At the request of Ch Shujaat Hussain’s lawyer to form a full court, the CJP told him that the full court will be able to be formed in September.

Shujaat’s lawyer Salahuddin said it is not necessary to make a full court with 17 judges, if there are more judges in the full court, then the opinion of each judge will come forward. The CJP also said that only two other judges of the SC are available in the city.

On one occasion, lawyer Irfan Qadir told the bench that there is an impression on social media that only a few judges are appointed in each case. He said it seems that the court is under pressure, and it will not be understood that he is disrespecting the SC. 

Responding to it, the CJP remarked that they don't care about social media. He added that people always used abuse on social media after seeing the situation.

CJP Justice Bandial remarks the value of a currency is falling day by day, and the economic situation is poor. Are all these problems in the country because of the SC or due to instability, he added.

The CJP said the SC can review the ruling of the assembly if some unconstitutional work will be done. The CJP also remarked that when there is unconstitutional work, the court will take notice by itself.

Justice Bandial said dictatorship has to be removed from the political party while Justice Muneeb said there should not be a dictatorship of the party leader in the parliamentary party.

Justice Ijaz said the question is, on what basis did the Deputy Speaker reject the votes, did the Deputy Speaker take the court decision wrongly? He added only question is that if the Deputy Speaker has misunderstood the SC’s decision, then they (SC) should correct it.

Ch Shujaat's lawyer Salahuddin told the court he wants to submit some documents according to which Ch Shujaat's letter as party head was received by the members earlier.

Later, the court takes another break of 15 minutes for consultation among the judges.

Earlier, for the consultation on constituting a ‘Full Court’ on the appeal of the ruling parties, the three members bench of the Supreme Court (SC) adjourned the hearing on Ch Parvez Elahi's petition against the Punjab Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari’s ruling till 5:30 pm.

Hearing the case, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) remarked that they consult among themselves on whether this bench should hear the case or constitute a ‘Full Court’.

Opposing the request of the full court from the opponents, Petitioner Ch Parvez Elahi’s lawyer Ali Zafar said it is the authority of the CJP to make a full court or not. Ali Zafar further stated that during the last 25 years, a full court was formed in only 3 or 4 cases. 

PTI’s lawyer Imtiaz Saddiqui argued that the Deputy Speaker gives the ruling that he has just received a letter from Ch Shujaat Hussain and when Raja Basharat tried to speak on it, he did not listen and asked to challenge it in court.

On this, the CJP remarked that no one had given the letter to the Deputy Speaker because when he came for the session in the House, the letter was in his pocket.

Continuing arguments on this, the PTI’s lawyer said that after the voting, the doors of the assembly were closed and no one could come inside the chamber.

Justice Ejaz said the Deputy Speaker did not refer to the decision of the Election Commission in the short ruling but referred to the decision in the detailed reasons related to his ruling.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has remarked that it is important to make the parliamentary party autonomous in parliamentary affairs otherwise the path of hereditary politics would never be checked through despotism of the party head, reported 24NewsHD TV channel. 

He expressed these remarks during the hearing of Ch Pervaiz Ellahi’s petition challenging the ruling of the provincial assembly’s deputy speaker who handed victory to Hamza Shehbaz after rejecting 10 votes of the PML-Q lawmakers citing previous judgement of the apex court

A three-judge apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Akhtar Munib was hearing the case. 

Chief Justice Bandial remarked that in the past, a parliament party’s head used to act as a despot and it was seen that several senior parliamentary members went against the decisions of their heads. 

The CJP went on to say that once a senior parliamentary leader during a presidential reference had complained about the despotism prevalent in the parties. He said that political parties’ heads should listen to their party members. 

Chief Justice Bandial remarked that political leaders used to instruct their parliamentary members while sitting abroad. ‘But through a constitutional amendment, the parliamentary party’s role has been strengthened,” the top judge said adding that it was necessary that parliamentary party should be autonomous in its parliamentary affairs. 

“The path of hereditary politics will never be checked if despotism by the party head continues,” the chief justice remarked.  

Justice Ahsan said that in England parliamentary party had got all the rights. There is no role of party head in Britain, he added.  

During the hearing, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari’s lawyer Irfan Qadir pleaded with the court to form a full court bench. 

Chief Justice Bandial asked him on what points a full court bench should hear the case. Lawyer Qadir said that according to the SC judgement, the party leader was responsible to issue directions. The Article 63-A is not clear, it’s ambiguous, he added. 

The CJP, however, denied writing anything about the party head in his judgement regarding interpretation of Article 63-A asking Mr Qadir to read out the said article. 

Justice Ahsan remarked there was no ambiguity in the Supreme Court judgement. “Only parliamentary party would give directions. If parliamentary party’s order is not obeyed, then the party head will give declaration,” the judge remarked adding ‘we wrote in our judgement that parliamentary party gives directions’. 

Chief Justice of Pakistan remarked that in the reviewed petitions of Article 63-A, there was only one point that pertained to the rejection of votes. How the parliamentary party will issue instructions, it’s another question, the CJP said adding that instructions could be given either by holding a meeting or through a letter.

Hamza’s lawyer Mansoor Awan said that he wanted to explain the reasons behind deputy speaker’s ruling. He said though the JUI chief was not member of the parliament, but his party took instructions from him. He said he could present examples of four such parties whose heads were not members of parliament but still these parties got instructions from them. He went on to say that parliamentary party was linked to party head. 

Justice Munib said there must be some reason behind giving the voting right to the parliamentary party

Justice Ahsan remarked that the parliamentary party was given the right to decide about vote, not the party head. The party head could initiate disciplinary action on non-compliance of the parliamentary party’s instructions. 

At the outset of the hearing, the bench called former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Latif Afridi to the rostrum.

The chief justice observed that several former SCBA presidents were present in the courtroom. The ongoing case was directly related to the SC’s interpretation of Article 63-A, he remarked.

Afridi said the country’s current political situation was “very complicated”.

“Our former presidents held a meeting. The SCBA’s petition for review [of the Article 63-A interpretation] is pending adjudication,” he informed the court.

When PPP’s lawyer Farooq H. Naek told the court that he had submitted a petition earlier today, the chief justice assured him the bench would listen to all stakeholders.

Ali Zafar advocate appeared before the court on behalf of Ch Pervaiz Elai while Irfan Qadir was representing Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari. 

The court summoned deputy speaker with all the record of Punjab Assembly. 

The court has also directed to present Ch Shujaat Hussain’s letter in today’s hearing which prompted the deputy speaker to reject 10 votes of the PML-Q lawmakers during the run-off election of Punjab chief minister.  

Politicians barred from entering SC

Meanwhile, Registrar Supreme Court has earlier barred leaders of all the political parties from entering the Supreme Court. Registrar Supreme Court has directed that no political leader will be allowed to enter Supreme Court during the hearing of the up Ch Pervaiz Elahi’s petition challenging the ruling of the provincial assembly’s deputy speaker.

However, later, the Supreme Court allowed political leaders to attend the hearing only after registering their entry to attend the hearing. 

Security around Rend Zone area to be beefed up

In the context of the significance of the case that might shake the echelons of power in Punjab with its repercussion in Centre, the Red Zone security was made fool-proof. The anti-riot force was deployed and the administration has brought prisoners van and water cannon to deal with any emergency situation. 

The authorities were made sure that political activists can’t get access to the court building.

The Supreme Court Lahore registry took up Pervaiz Elahi’s petition on Saturday. A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar heard the case.

During its ruling, the SC made Hamza Shehbaz as trustee chief minister of Punjab till Monday (today) when the court meets again to decide the case. The SC barred Hamza from using CM powers for political gains.

The CJP remarked that the deputy speaker’s ruling was prima facie against the Article 63-A verdict.

The court summoned the Punjab deputy speaker, who failed to turn up and sent a lawyer in his stead. The court also issued notices to Hamza, attorney general, Punjab advocate general and Punjab chief secretary.

Shujaat files plea to become party

Ch Shujaat Hussain, Pakistan Muslim League (W) president, has also filed a petition to become a party in the case.

In his application, he pleaded that he wrote a letter to Punjab Assembly’s deputy speaker on July 22 and the deputy speaker acted on his letter to exclude the PML-Q members votes from the counting of the chief minister election.

He pleaded that the votes cast in favour of Pervaiz Elahi was a violation of Artilce 63-A of the constitution.

He said he is the relevant party in the case so he should be made a party in the case.

Hamza files plea for full court bench

Hamza Shehbaz, the trustee Punjab chief minister, has also filed an application to form a full bench in the case.

He pleaded the Supreme Court to hear the review applications regarding the SC decision on Article 63-A co-currently with the Elahi’s petition.

He also pleaded to hear the petitions of the PTI’s turncoats’ appeals against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision of their disqualification. 

He contested that the ruling of Punjab deputy speaker, Dost Muhammad Mazari, given on July 22 was correct.

He pleaded that ECP accepted the direction given by PTI chairman Imran Khan to the PTI’s defected members. He said if the SCP accepted the appeals of the PTI’s defected members, the situation will be completely changed and the 25 votes of the defected members will also be counted for the Punjab CM election.

Coalition govt also seek full court bench

After the SC ruling on Friday, the coalition government objected to the three-judge bench demanding formation of full court bench citing the significance of the case.

The coalition government is all set to file a petition seeking formation of full bench today.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and talked about the filing of the petition for full court bench. Both leaders vowed to move forward together.

PML-Q President Ch Shujaat and Maulana Fazl also held telephonic contact and discussed the case.

JUI files petition to become party

Later, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam filed an application on Monday in the Supreme Court to become party to the case.

On Sunday, during his press conference in Dera Ismail Khan, the JUI-F chief said he would move a petition with the Supreme Court to become a party in the case.

Echoing the demand of two major parties in the PDM, the PPP and the PML-N, he also asked for the constitution of a full court of the Supreme Court to hear the petition.

PPP files to become party to case

On the other hand, Pakistan People’s Party has also filed an application to become a party to Pervaiz Elahi’s petition.

Farooq H Naek submitted the petition in court.

The petition stated that the PPP had its lawmakers in Punjab Assembly that’s why the court should hear its stance. It said that the PPP believed in the constitution and rule of law.

Pervaiz Elahi's petition

Pervaiz Elahi on Friday night submitted his petition to the SC Lahore registry challenging the re-election of Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister of the province.

In his petition, he prayed to the court to strike down the deputy speaker’s ruling on vote count during the CM election.

He argued that through his illegal and unconstitutional ruling the deputy speaker did not count the PML-Q’s 10 votes. The ruling was also a violation of the Supreme Court order, he insisted.

Pervaiz Elahi said the deputy speaker’s ruling was also a violation of Article 63-A.

Lahore Registry Deputy Registrar Ejaz Gorayra and other staff also rushed to their offices at Friday midnight and received the petition filed by PML-Q lawyer Amir Saeed Rawn.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary's on Friday night addressing the MPAs urged the Supreme Court to open the gates of justice to settle the matter.

Reporter: Imanat Gishkori