Justice Mansoor for full court to hear NAB amendments

Says petitioner's counsel could not give a satisfactory answer to a question of fundamental rights asked multiple times n Justice Bandial says apex court not only has to see merit of the case, but also its maintainability n Case to be heard on a daily basis from August 28.


ISLAMABAD  -  Supreme Court of Paki­stan judge Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah Fri­day proposed that a Full Court be consti­tuted for hearing of petition against the amendments in the Na­tional Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Jus­tice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah conducted hearing of former prime minis­ter Imran Khan’s peti­tion against the amend­ments in the NAO, 1999.

During the proceed­ing, the Chief Justice said that Kh Haris had filed a petition. Makh­doom Ali Khan, the fed­eral counsel, respond­ed that he would like to have the opportuni­ty to respond to the pe­tition both verbally and in writing. He said that nothing new in the ap­plication as the court asked the petition­er’s lawyer to identify the provisions in NAB amendments, which are violative of the con­stitutional provisions, and why the petition­er thinks that those should be struck down.

Makhdoom said that he would not go into this matter whether the judgment in the Punjab elections was by 4-3 or 3-2 but the members of the bench have expressed their divergent views. He said in suo moto 1 (hold­ing of elections in the Punjab) the two mem­bers of the bench have ex­pressed their opinion on the maintainability of the petition filed under Ar­ticle 184(3) of the con­stitution. The Chief Jus­tice stated that divergent views are good, adding; “We are time constraint.” “I am retiring soon and al­ready Khawaja Haris had made his submission in 26 hearings, while Makh­doom has argued his case in 19 hearings. He said; “It took long to the pe­titioner’s counsel to re­spond to our May 26 or­der.” Justice Mansoor inquired from Makh­doom how would you re­spond whether this bench hear the instant matter in the light of the Supreme Court (Practice and Pro­cedure) Act, 2023 or not? He said; “In the Military Court case I have raised this point in view of the Act 2023. However, a five-judge is hearing the case (Military Court). My res­ervation is that this mat­ter be heard by Full Court, because if this bench de­cides the case then it will have implications. The court asked him to come prepared on the next hearing as they require assistance on it. Makh­doom replied; “I will be making submission in the light of Justice Mansoor’s observation.” Justice Ban­dial said the Practice and Procedure Act, 2023 has not been debated before the court. He said that the court not only has to see the merit of the case, but also its maintainability. The bench gave one week to the federation’s coun­sel to respond to file the concise statement. Jus­tice Ijaz said that this case is based on its own mer­its and facts, adding ev­ery case has to turn on its own standing. The chief justice said the verdict of the majority of a bench is the judgment of the Su­preme Court, adding one member of the bench can have its own different views. He said this is not a lengthy case and you have too much on the ju­risdiction issue. Justice Mansoor said in total 47 hearings he had repeat­edly been asking the pe­titioner’s counsel, which of his fundamental rights has been affected. “From the day one I have been asking to identify the pro­visions in NAB amend­ments, which are violative of the constitutional pro­visions, but haven’t got its reply. The entire petition is speculative,” he add­ed. During the hearing, CJP Bandial remarked: “I don’t think we can re­view the amendments made to the law in 2023. The NAB amendments of 2022 were challenged be­fore the court.”

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