Three-judge bench sets aside PA Deputy Speaker’s ruling calling it ‘void, without lawful authority and of no legal effect’ n Ministers, Advisors appointed on Hamza’s advice ‘shall immediately cease to hold

office’ n Ruling coalition boycotts court proceedings.

ISLAMABAD   -   The Supreme Court of Pakistan Tuesday set aside the ruling of Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly regarding rejection of ten votes of Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) in the election of CM Punjab office.

After setting aside the ruling, the apex court declared Chaudhry Parvez Elahi (the petitioner) as “the duly elected Chief Minister, Punjab.” Hamza Shehbaz and other members of the ruling coalition boycot­ted the court’s proceedings on Tuesday as announced by the Pakistan Democrat­ic Movement on Monday.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprised Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar announced the verdict after hearing the petitions of Pakistan Tehreek-e-In­saf (PTI) and Speaker Punjab Assembly Parvez Elahi, who was also contesting election for the CM Punjab office.

In its short order, the apex court di­rected the Punjab Chief Secretary to imme­diately and forthwith issue the notification declaring Parvez Elahi as the duly elected Chief Minister, Punjab and also directed the Governor Punjab to administer oath to Parvez for the office of CM Punjab be­fore 11:30pm Tuesday.

It further said that in case, the Pun­jab Governor is unable or unwilling to administer such oath, the Presi­dent of Pakistan may forthwith ad­minister oath of office to Parvez Ela­hi as Chief Minister.

The apex court wrote in its 11-pages judgment that in view of the foregoing and for detailed reasons to be recorded later and such elaboration and amplification as may be necessary, the titled constitutional petition is allowed. It added that the sole question of public importance with reference to en­ forcement of fundamental rights involved in this petition is whether the understanding and implementation of the short judgment of this Court dated 17.05.2022 passed in Presiden­tial Reference No.1 of 2022 read with Article 63A(1)(b) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 (“the Constitu­tion”) was correct.

“We find that the understand­ing and implementation of the said short judgment as well as the provisions of Article 63A(1)(b) of the Constitution by the Deputy Speaker, Provincial As­sembly of Punjab, Lahore (Re­spondent No.1) was patent­ly incorrect and erroneous and cannot be sustained,” said the apex court.

It further said, “The gover­nance of the Province of Pun­jab in accordance with the Constitution has been subvert­ed whereby the fundamental rights of the people have been seriously infringed. As a result, the Ruling dated 22.07.2022 is­sued by Respondent No.1, Dep­uty Speaker, Punjab Assembly is set aside and declared to be void, without lawful author­ity and of no legal effect.” The SC judgment said that in con­sequence of the above, having admittedly secured 186 votes as against 179 votes obtained by Hamza Shehbaz Sharif (Re­spondent No.2) in the runoff election of Chief Minister, Pun­jab held on 22.07.2022 pursu­ant to the consent order of this Court dated 01.07.2022 passed in Civil Petition No.2242 of 2022, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi (the petitioner) is “declared as the duly elected Chief Minister, Punjab.”

“We direct the Chief Secretary, Punjab (Respondent No.3) to immediately and forthwith and on announcement of this short order issue the requisite notifi­cation declaring the petitioner as the duly elected Chief Minis­ter, Punjab,” rule the top court of country.

It further said that in conse­quence of the foregoing, it is declared that Respondent No.2 (Hamza) not being the duly elected Chief Minister, the oath of office administered to him was and is without lawful au­thority and of no legal effect. Likewise all acts, deeds and things attendant and conse­quent upon such oath including but not limited to the notifica­tion of Respondent No.2 and the formation and swearing in of the Cabinet on his advice is also declared to be without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

It maintained that all Advi­sors, Special Advisors and Spe­cial Assistants etc (if any) by whatever name called appoint­ed by, on behalf or under or­ders/advice of Respondent No.2 shall immediately and forth­with cease to hold office, their appointment is declared ille­gal and without lawful authori­ty and the respondent No.2, the persons appointed as Ministers on his advice and the aforemen­tioned persons are relieved of their offices/posts with imme­diate effect.

In its verdict, the apex court also directed the Governor, Pun­jab to arrange and administer oath of office to the petitioner as the duly elected Chief Minis­ter, Punjab in accordance with law and the Constitution not later than 11:30 pm tonight i.e. 26.07.2022. It added, “In case, the Governor, Punjab is unable or unwilling to administer such oath, the President of Pakistan may forthwith administer oath of office to the petitioner as Chief Minister, Punjab.”

The court judgment said that all acts, deeds and things law­fully done or purported to be done by Respondent No.2 and or any Member of the Pro­vincial Cabinet in accordance with the Constitution and the law under colour of office are hereby saved and protected under the de facto doctrine subject to all just and legal exceptions and such review, modification, reversal or with­drawal as may be deemed ap­propriate by the incoming Chief Minister, Punjab and any member of the Cabinet or oth­er officer appointed by him in accordance with law.

Regarding the demand of Full Court, the apex court said that it may be mentioned that the counsel for the respon­dents raised an objection to the hearing of the matter by a three-member bench of this court and sought the referral thereof to the Full Court.

It added that however, while explaining the grounds for making this request the learned counsel for the respon­dents No.1 and 2 also laid out their case on the merits of the dispute which essentially con­cerns a question of law touch­ing the formation of the Pro­vincial Government allegedly in violation of the provisions of the Constitution, in particu­lar, Article 63A read with Arti­cle 130(4) thereof.

The SC judgment further said that although elaborate submis­sions were made in terms as above yesterday i.e. 25.07.2022, requests were made by the learned counsel for the respon­dents / interveners for further time to make additional sub­missions, if any, and seek in­structions.

It pointed that the court ac­cordingly adjourned the mat­ter for today i.e. 26.07.2022 at 11:30 am to give the learned counsel for the respondents/ interveners a further oppor­tunity to add to their submis­sions on the merits of the case if deemed appropriate by them.

However, it said that when the matter was taken up at 11:30am, the learned counsel for the respondents as well as interveners one by one stepped forward and informed the court that their respective clients had instructed them not to partici­pate further in the proceedings in this case.

However, the judgment said that in the first session which continued for about one hour and forty-five minutes, they did not withdraw from the court room and observed fur­ther proceedings in the matter during which we heard further arguments of the learned coun­sel for the petitioner specially in relation to submissions that had been made by the learned counsel for the respondent/interveners on the previous date, and the reliance placed by them on the various judgments of this Court.

The bench observed that the votes were excluded on the ba­sis that 10 members of the PM­L(Q) had failed to follow the di­rection under Article 63A(1)(b) of the Constitution given by the party head to the mem­bers of the Parliamentary Par­ty of PML(Q). As a result, the winning candidate who had re­ceived 186 votes lost the elec­tion by 03 votes.

Later, Elahi challenged the Deputy Speaker’s ruling be­fore the Supreme Court on 23.07.2022 and the SC set aside the same and declared it void, without lawful authority and of no legal effect.