CJP Bandial pledges 'sweet and brief' verdict in NAB amendments case
Says his retirement is nearying so judgement reserved today will be announced soon: Remarks learning from past court no longer takes suo motu notice: Attorney General apologises for not appearing before court
By News Desk
September 5, 2023 12:29 PM
The Supreme Court has reserved its verdict on a petition filed by PTI chief and former prime minister Imran Khan against the amendments in the NAB law, with Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial pledging “a sweet and brief ruling soon”, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
CJP Bandial said his retirement is nearing so the brief verdict in the NAB amendments case will be pronounced soon as the apex court concluded hearing into the case on Tuesday.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJP and comprised Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah heard the concluding arguments in connection with the Imran Khan's petition filed in 2022. In total 51 hearings of the case were held.
During the hearing of the case, the CJP remarked that the withdrawal of the references clearly showed the law’s lean was in which direction.
“We no longer take suo motu notice learning from the past,” he added.
“The NAB law regarding military officers has been endorsed by the SC in the past while it is completely silent regarding judges,” the federal government’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan told the court.
“There is no forum for redressal of complaints against retired judges. Judges continue to write judgments for six months after retirement,” he added.
“Let the legislators be accountable to the people,” he stated.
The attorney general apologised for not appearing before the court. “The attorney general had to go abroad in a hurry without informing for which he apologises,” the additional attorney general told the court.
“It’s okay. Submit the written submissions,” the CJP said.
“Also include questions about the accountability of judges and the army [in the written submissions],” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said to the additional attorney general.
At the outset of the hearing, lawyer Khawaja Haris contended before the court: “A lot of pending cases have been returned after the NAB amendments.”
At this, CJP Bandial inquired if there were any sections in the amendments under which cases could be referred to another forum. “After these amendments, a lot of NAB’s work has come to an end,” he noted.
The lawyer then replied that as per the amendments, an investigation would be conducted, after the review of which the cases could be sent to other forums. He also informed the court that after the changes to the law, NAB neither had the authority to deal with the cases nor send them to other relevant forums.
Here, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah noted that a law was not needed to forward cases to other relevant forums.
The CJP then noted that it was on record whose references had been returned till May this year.
While admitting that defending oneself was easier under the NAB amendments, Haris contended that his client was not taking advantage of them and recalled he had told the NAB the same.
At one point during the hearing, Justice Shah noted that Army officers had been excused from the NAB ordinance, to which Haris responded that the Army Act 1952 already had provisions to deal with cases related to the military.
Justice Shah then asked, “Is a corrupt Army officer not directly related to the public?” noting that officers of other institutions were dealt with according to the NAB ordinance, including the judiciary.
CJP Bandial remarked that the lack of clarity on crimes such as smuggling, illegal transfer of money, or state institutions being used for corruption was “upsetting”.
“Making the public prosper and secure is the state’s responsibility,” he remarked.
The court then reserved the verdict on the matter, with the CJP saying, “We will soon announce a short and sweet verdict of the case.”
Reporter Amanat Gishkori