A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) headed by the Chief Justice (CJ) Umar Ata Bandial started hearing of a Presidential Reference seeking the court’s opinion on Article 63 (A) of the constitution.
According to the details, the five-member bench of the apex court headed by CJ Bandial and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Ijazul Ahsen and Justice Munib Akhtar is hearing the reference.
Earlier, at the outset of the hearing, the additional attorney-general maintained that the court was requested to adjourn the hearing till the appointment of a new attorney-general of Pakistan (AGP).
During the hearing, additional attorney-general Amir Rehman requested to adjourn the hearing till the appointment of a new attorney-general of Pakistan (AG). On which, the Chief Justice said that the arguments of the Attorney General were completed in the presidential reference, I think we should run the presidential reference.
No one needs to point a finger at the courts, CJ Bandial said during the hearing. “We don’t care about what is being said on social media; [we] are the protector of the Constitution,” he added.
It has become very easy to gather 10,000 people and say no,” Justice Mandokhel observed.
“The Parliament didn’t write disqualification for life clearly, the parliament did it deliberately or by mistake,” Justice Mandokhel questioned. “The parliament exists, the matter sent back to it for review why it is being taken to the court,” Justice Jamal Mandokhel said.
“It is the court who has to interpret the constitution,” AG Islamabad said. “The parliament should be allowed to amend it,” Justice Mandokhel said.
“Why we decide, when they gather 15,000 people and criticize the court decision,” CJ Bandial asked. “We want respect of the court verdicts, the court performs its constitutional duty. The national leaders should defend court decision. We are subject to abuses for protecting the constitution, but we will continue to do so,” the chief justice said.
“A basis of the parliamentary democracy is political party, political parties have been provided protection in Article 63,” Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed. “Ziaul Haq had deleted the clause related to defection from party, from the constitution,” he said.
“After court decisions on horse-trading, an amendment was introduced in the constitution in 1998, while in 2010 Article 63-A was added with the 18th constitutional amendment,” Justice Bandial said.
“The violation of the constitution is not a small matter, several people face Article 06 over violation of the constitution,” CJ further said. “Article 06 not applied over violation of the Article 63-A,” he said.
“Presidential reference seeks enforcement of Article 62-i over the defecting members of the parliament. The court will determine, what will be the result of the violation of the constitution,” chief justice said.
“If the court can add life disqualification on its own,” Justice Mandokhel asked. “The court had declared life disqualification in the interpretation of Article 62-i (f),” A.G. Islamabad replied and concluded his arguments.
It is to be noted that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), on Aril 15, 2022, moved the top court seeking a lifetime disqualification of its defector lawmakers under Article 63-A after then prime minister Imran Khan was voted out by the National Assembly through a no-confidence motion.
The apex court adjourned the hearing of the reference till April 19, 2022 (Tuesday) at 1 pm (local time).
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