ISLAMABAD - Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan concluded his arguments in the speaker ruling case on Monday, arguing that the ruling was in accordance with the parliamentary ethics and the verdict in the contempt of court case did not refer to the disqualification of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.He further said the Supreme Court did not have the authority to disqualify any parliamentarian, including the premier.“The matter should be forwarded to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as it does not fall in the jurisdiction of the court under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, “ Aitzaz urged the court.However, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked that the court could review the speaker’s ruling.Aitzaz, who is the counsel for Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, gave these arguments before a three-member bench - comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain – which was hearing a set of constitutional petitions challenging National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza’s ruling on the reference against Prime Minister Gilani.In an observation over the defence counsel’s arguments, the chief justice told him the petitions had stated that a convicted person was representing the people and the prime minister represented the public and not a party.Chief Justice Iftikhar remarked: “The petitioner are of the view that fate of 180 million people is in the hand of such a person who has been sentenced by a seven-member bench of the Supreme Court.”Aitzaz said the petitioners should have first approached the high courts upon which the chief justice asked how the ruling of a seven-member Supreme Court bench could be taken to a high court.At this stage, Attorney General Irfan Qadir interrupted the proceedings by supporting the Aitzaz’ arguments and said the bench lacked the public support as it acted in an unconstitutional manner.He said his arguments would go in vain as the judges had already made up their minds.Arguing his case the attorney general said no question whatsoever had arisen regarding the disqualification of prime minister. He stated that as seven-member bench acted beyond the jurisdiction, he would like to highlight the likely consequences of Article 63(1) (g), adding, “The Supreme Court cannot disqualify any parliamentarian, as the matter has to be decided by the speaker and the ECP.Irfan Qadir said the disqualification of the prime minister was not the issue before the bench, as it was seized with the matter whether the premier had committed contempt of court or not and that Gilani’s conviction was based on groundless charges.The court could not disqualify the PM on the basis that he refused to write letter to Geneva to reopen case against the NRO beneficiaries, he added.The entire contempt of court proceeding against the prime minister was without jurisdiction, the attorney general said.“Prime Minister Gilani has great respect for the judiciary and therefore he appeared before the bench to preserve the dignity and honour of the institution,” Irfan maintained. However, the chief justice corrected him, saying not the institution but the Constitution.The chief law officer of the country argued the seven-member bench’s verdict was in violation of Article 248 (1&2).However, the chief justice asked the attorney general of confine himself to the case and not to argue irrelevant issues, which the respondents had not pleaded.”The attorney general in ignorance said: “I don’t know myself what I have to argue.”Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said: “I wanted to say something but you keep on interrupting me.”The attorney general also pleaded that there was no contempt of court law in the country and said there were many contempt cases pending before the court, but the bench was hearing Gilani’s case on an extremely fast pace.When Ifran talked about the seven-member bench’s judgment, especially the poetry part, the chief justice stopped him and said: “Now you are crossing your limit,” and directed him not to do so.But the attorney general said Gilani had been ridicule through the poetry part. The chief justice reminded him that they were hearing the case related to the speaker’s ruling and not the judgment.He told the attorney general: “You have invited trouble for yourself as you had said ‘the judges are biased’,” adding that they had noted the remarks.Aitzaz referred to a case pertaining to the election of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf while he was in uniform, on which the chief justice said the counsel was relying on judgments over which he had expressed his opposition in the past.“You are an advocate of democracy and of the Constitution. No system could function without the two factors then why are you referring that judgment which was later nullified by the several judgments,” Chief Justice Iftikhar remarked. The chief justice asked him that instead of relying on these verdicts, he should have cited the judgments in Nusrat Bhutto, Dosso and Zafar Ali Shah cases.“I don’t know if it is a coincidence or the pressure of circumstances,” Justice Iftikhar said, as he was referring to Aitzaz’ arguments. However, the counsel said he was not working under any pressure.Clarifying the government’s position over non-filing of appeal against the verdict in the contempt case, Aitzaz said the seven-member bench did not disqualify the premier.The chief justice remarked that the speaker was a custodian of the Parliament, but some of her moves were not relevant to the Parliament’s functions, adding that there were several examples in the world where speaker’s judgment was reconsidered by the higher courts.The counsel said the disqualification could be materialised only when one ridiculed the judiciary, but Gilani did not do so.Aitzaz said the prime minister enjoyed the same fundamental rights as any other citizen, adding that the court had the authority to safeguard the rights and provide justice to the people.Meanwhile, the attorney general submitted a written reply from Speaker Fehmida Mirza, who stated that the court verdict did not order sending a reference directly to the ECP. Moreover, she had the constitutional authority to decide over the disqualification of a member of the assembly.The speaker stated that in accordance with the Constitution, she had issued a legal ruling and it was not fair to say that the ruling had been delayed.The reply said Maulvi Iqbal Haider’s reference was not based on merit which was why it had been rejected.Fehmida contended that after the 18th Amendment, she had an absolute power to decide the matter related to the disqualification or qualification of any parliamentarian.She stated that her ruling on any matter could not be challenged in the court and the power of the speaker was not parallel or not under the Supreme Court.“The office of the speaker demands the highest respect for other organs of the state and functionaries of the government,” she maintained.Fehmida raised objections on the petitions filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif and others, saying no fundamental rights of the petitioners was infringed due to her ruling; therefore, all the petitions should be dismissed.Aitzaz and Munir Paracha, who is representing the federation, have concluded their arguments. The court directed the attorney general to complete his arguments by 11 am today and adjourned the hearing.