SC reserves verdict on plea for full court

Justice Bandial says there should be an independent body to review if arrests made with solid evidence or not


ISLAMABAD  -   The Supreme Court of Pakistan Tuesday reserved its judgment on civil society’s plea to constitute a Full Court for hearing the petitions against the trials of civilians by the military courts, which will be an­nounced today.

A six-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pa­kistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Jus­tice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Af­ridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Ak­bar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha A Malik conducted hearing of the petitions.

During the hearing, Advocate Fais­al Siddiqui, representing members of the civil society, stated that two lessons can be drawn from the past judicial history and judicial practice. Firstly, no judgment of a Full Court has ever been subverted or not im­plemented by the State, including the military dictators. Secondly, in the past matters of major constitu­tional importance and complexity, including cases involving constitu­tionality of military trials, have been heard by larger benches of nine judges and above or Full Court.

The civil society counsel further submitted that even two members who are (and were) hearing the pe­titions i.e. Justice Yahya Afridi on 23-06-23 and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah on 22-06-23 suggested to the chief justice to constitute a Full Court. He requested the Court to consider the reasons given by these two judges for constitution of Full Court.

He said that three judges have re­cused from the bench and now how to deal with this issue has been cov­ered in Asad Ali case PLD 1998. Jus­tice Afridi said that two judge have not recused from bench, but they have declined to sit in this bench.

Faisal asked the chief justice to constitute a Full Court comprising judges who are willing and available to be a part of it for adjudication on fundamental and complex constitu­tional and legal questions.

The civil society lawyer contend­ed that various statements have been made by politicians and sit­ting minister of the present govern­ment questioning the legitimacy of the bench. He said what this Court experienced in the case of general elections in Punjab was the crim­inal contemptuous attitude of the government. He, therefore, request­ed to constitute a Full Court.

Contrary to that Kh Hassan ap­pearing on behalf of ex-CJP Jawad S Khawaja, stated that the urgency in this case is because the individuals have been denied liberty. He, howev­er, told that after getting instruction would make further submissions.

Aitzaz Ahsan, one of the petition­ers, stated: “I take it (Faisal plea) as astounding and unparalleled. The re-assembly of the bench will take away the confidence from this bench, and inevitably it would de­lay.” He said would support the idea of Full Court at this stage if 102 per­sons who are in military custody are shifted to judicial custody. 

Aitzaz’s counsel Sardar Latif Khosa said 102 persons are languishing in the jail, and their families are wait­ing to see them. He requested the Court to proceed with this matter on day to day basis and decide it.

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