PTI chief’s plea against amends in National Accountabil.

If amendments are too harsh, make mockery of democracy and deride process of accountability then court may interfere, remarks CJP.

ISLAMABAD   -   Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial Friday said that those sitting in parliament must not make self-serving legislation.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah conducted hearing of the constitutional petition of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan against the amendments in the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

During the hearing, Advocate Khawaja Haris, appearing on behalf of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, informed the bench that he could not submit the concise statement as he was suffering from the COVID. Upon his request the court told him to file the statement before 1st September.

The Chief Justice said that Makhdoom Ali Khan had filed his concise statement and interesting points had been raised in it. He said that they were conscious that the court should not enter into the political ticket, and asked Kh Haris that how the amendments violates the fundamental rights. He added that the constitution guarantees the fundamental rights and the due process.

He said that if the amendments are too harsh and make mockery of democracy and deride the process of accountability then the court may interfere. Fair trial is essential to establish the truth. He said that through the amendments concession has been given to a few persons, and due process and fair trial which is the essential feature of criminal justice system is being prejudiced.

Khawaja Haris said that one should be arrested if he does not join the investigation. In the criminal jurisprudence the arrest is made under the law. He told that the NAB has started proceedings under the amended provisions.

The court said that the right of the accused viz a viz the right of citizen at large has to be balanced, adding that even a person is acquitted of the allegations but his life become problem because of the stigma he carries throughout the person’s life.

Justice Bandial said that they had observed that the legislation had gone over the board. The court has to see whether the legislature has crossed the limit. He inquired from Kh Haris that how 90 days remand is justified, adding that there has to be reasonable justification. Kh Haris not supporting 90 days’ remand said that under the criminal law the remand is 14 days. The chief justice said that they have to maintain the balance.

The Chief Justice said that look at the conviction in the cases, adding that the criminal justice system will have credibility if the conviction rate is 99% but it is 60% in the country. Justice Mansoor said that if you want an offence be criminalised what the society or the community do or where they will go. Whether it be the parliament or the people should come to the court.

Later, the bench adjourned the hearing of the case till September 1 for further proceedings.

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