- SC to hear remaining parties in NA proceedings case today.
- CJP Bandial says formation of caretaker govt is subject to court’s proceedings, wants to conclude case soon.
- Says “court will announce verdict on basis of law and Constitution instead of loyalties.”
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan will resume hearing the case pertaining to the “unconstitutional” ruling by National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri to impede the vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan, today at 11am.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial had taken suo motu notice of the constitutional crisis that erupted after Suri disallowed voting on the motion, deeming it “unconstitutional” — a move that the Opposition said was a blatant violation of the Constitution.
Today, the apex court’s five-member larger bench — headed by Justice Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Aijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel — will hear the arguments by the counsels of the remaining respondents of the case.
Counsels representing PPP, PML-N, PTI, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Sindh High Court Bar, Attorney General of Pakistan and Advocate General of Punjab presented their arguments before the court in Tuesday’s hearing.
“The formation of a caretaker government is subject to the court’s proceedings […] want to conclude the case today,” CJP Bandial had remarked during the hearing.
“The court will announce the verdict on the basis of law and Constitution instead of loyalties.”
He said that the SC will release an order when all the parties complete their arguments.
Constitutional order above NA rules: CJP
The top judge remarked that constitutional orders are above the rules of the national assembly.
He said that the majority (20%) of the members were present in the NA when the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan was tabled.
“The Constitutional right cannot be disregarded based on NA Rules.”
CJP Bandial had directed NA speaker’s counsel Naeem Bokhari to present the minutes of the crucial NA session held on March 31 to debate the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, in today’s hearing.
He also directed Bokhari to assist the court with the help of documents in the next hearing over the question of whether Suri had been given the authority to give the ruling or not.
SC takes suo motu notice
CJP Bandial had taken a suo motu notice of the constitutional crisis that erupted after the incident. The judge maintained in a written judgment issued during Sunday’s hearing that his fellow judges had approached him and had expressed concern over the situation.
“Any orders and actions that Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi regarding the dissolution of the National Assembly shall be subject to the order of this court,” CJP Bandial had said taking the notice on Sunday.
Earlier, the SC restrained state institutions from taking any extra-constitutional steps and directed them to act strictly in accordance with the Constitution, besides asking all political forces of the country to remain peaceful.
The joint Opposition has also prepared a petition to cancel the ruling of the deputy speakers under which the National Assembly session was adjourned for an indefinite period as Suri cancelled the voting on the no-confidence motion, terming it “unconstitutional”.
According to the petition prepared by the joint Opposition, the speaker should be directed to convene the session today as “the deputy speaker cannot adjourn the session as it is unconstitutional.”
Furthermore, the Opposition has filed a petition against President Arif Alvi, PM Imran Khan, Speaker NA Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri for violating the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court on the constitutional crisis.
The constitutional petition filed by SCBA states that a voting of no-confidence motion was a must, and the speaker cannot cancel the voting by a ruling.
It was further noted that the deputy speaker’s ruling contradicts Article 95(2). It further said that according to Article 58(1) the premier cannot even “advise dissolution of the assembly,” once the no-confidence motion is filed against him/her.
Sources privy to the matter said that a special bench of the top court will hear the case.