Monday, May 16, 2022

SC wants to conclude presidential reference on Article 63(A) tomorrow: CJP

SC adjourns hearing on reference till Tuesday, rejects AGP Ashtar Ausaf and PML-N's plea for extension

Supreme Court building. — SC website
Supreme Court building. — SC website

  • SC adjourns hearing till Tuesday, rejects AGP Ashtar Ausaf and PML-N's plea for extension.
  • CJP Bandial says requests for extension mean incumbent govt wants to defer case.
  • Directs PML-N counsel to submit arguments in written today.

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan on Monday said that the Supreme Court wants to conclude the presidential reference seeking interpretation on Article 63(A) tomorrow.

A five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, heard the case.

During the hearing, Attorney-General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf and PML-N lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan requested the court for an extension for the completion of arguments.

However, the CJP rejected the plea remarking that the court wants to make a decision on the case soon.

The top judge rebuked the AGP over "trying to delay the case after promising to assist the court" in today's hearing. AGP Ausaf, at the last hearing of the reference, had asked the court to allow him to present his arguments on Monday.

"This is one of the most important affairs of public interest. Both AGP Ausaf and Khan are the counsels of the government [...] their requests for extension mean that the incumbent government wants to defer the case," CJP Bandial remarked.

Meanwhile, Balochistan National Party-Mengal's (BNP) counsel Mustafa Ramday maintained while presenting his arguments that he wouldn't defend any dissident.

He said that the party chairman doesn't take action against the dissidents.

"The court should also keep the conduct of the party chairman in view," he said.

CJP Bandial remarked that maybe the dissident member convinces the party chairman with his reasoning for defection.

At this, Ramday said: "Our political parties do not have enough democracy [to let that happen]".

Ramday maintained that Article 63(A) restricts defection and explains the entire procedure in case of the offense.

He said that if the said article didn't explain the procedure, the court would have the choice to consider Article 62-63.

Ramday went on to say that it is not necessary that the defection benefits anyone and that's the reason the lawmakers kept de-seating as the punishment for defection.

The CJP inquired if Ramday wanted to say that de-seating is enough for defection.

At this, the lawyer maintained that he doesn't want to go beyond the procedure mentioned under Article 63(A).

"Adding more punishments with de-seating would further increase the divide," he said.

The court directed the PML-N counsel to submit his arguments in written today. Later, the court adjourned the hearing on the presidential reference on Article 63(A) till tomorrow (Tuesday) 11:30am.