Government questions SC’s suo motu jurisdiction

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ISLAMABAD – The federal government on Monday questioned the Supreme Court’s suo motu jurisdiction under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution contending that it denied the federation’s full right of appeal in breach of Article 10 (A), besides violating the injunctions of Islam with regards to maintainability. Arguing on a review petition against the court’s verdict of declaring the decision of parliamentary committee (PC) for appointment of judges null and void, Additional Attorney General KK Agha contended that the use of suo motu powers by the SC was in violation of the injunctions of Islam in respect of maintainability.
He was arguing in front of a four-member SC bench comprising Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, which was hearing a review petition filed by the federation against the SC’s March 4 decision, setting aside the parliamentary committee’s recommendations for the rejection of one-year extension in the tenures of six high court judges. “Once finding that the Parliamentary Committee’s decisions were subject to judicial review by the SC and thereafter erroneously failing to review each judge on an individual basis in a separate hearing was strange,” he stated.
He said lack of application of judicial mind by the Judicial Commission in considering recommendations entitled the PC to review the decisions of the Judicial Commission in order to protect the fundamental rights of the citizen by ensuring that only competent judges of integrity were appointed. He also mentioned that it was incorrect that the PC travelled beyond its constitutional boundaries by reviewing the decisions of the JC and thereby the court had failed to apply the doctrine of judicial restrained. “It is incorrect interference by the court that the parliament intends to preserve the delineation of powers in the previous dispensation”, he stated. He contended that due to the court’s decision, constitutional process for the appointment of judges provided under 175-A was not been completed. “Prejudices were caused to the federation and other petitioners in the 18th amendment case by discussing and deciding issues, which were sub-judice before the full bench and were ripe for a final detailed judgement”, he stated in his written formulations. The court adjourned hearing until today (Tuesday).
SC hints it may summon PM in court over NRO plea
The Supreme Court (SC) hinted on Monday that it would summon the prime minister if the government’s lawyers did not represent it in the review petition against the apex court’s verdict on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). The court also issued show-cause notices to the government’s Advocate-on-Record (AOR) Raja Abdul Ghafoor and Law Ministry Solicitor General Nasir Ali Shah for giving false statements before it about the AOR’s withdrawal from the case.
When the 17-member full court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, resumed hearing of the government’s review petition, Deputy Attorney General KK Agha, who was supposed to argue the case, told the bench that he had no instructions from the federation to represent it in the case. He said he was unable to appear in the case without the federation’s permission, as rules did not allow it. However, he requested repeatedly that the government be allowed to arrange another counsel. The court then summoned Attorney General Anwarul Haq, who submitted that he had made a suggestion to the government, which he did not want to disclose before the court, for which a day’s time was required.
The court then allowed him one day but said if the government did not present its counsel on Tuesday (today), the government would be treated like every other petitioner. The chief justice said all this was being done without bringing it to the prime minister’s notice. Meanwhile, the government’s AOR Raja Abdul Ghafoor told the court that he had also withdrawn from the case. He said he had written a letter to the Law Ministry for withdrawal on account of indisposition on.Masood Rehman
SC hints it may summon PM
April 14, which was accepted and on the instructions of the solicitor general, he had given a letter of authority to Syed Zafar Abbas Naqvi, AOR according to Supreme Court Rules, 1980. The court then noted that Ghafoor had regularly been appearing not only in the NRO case but many others as well, wherein he had filed his power of attorney on behalf of litigants as AOR. Prior to this, the court said, he had never withdrawn from a case on account of ill-health. “It has perhaps happened because of continuous orders of the court during adjournments of the NRO review plea for one, or the other reason can be the federation’s lack of interest in pursuing the case,” the court stated.
Under Supreme Court rules, it is the AOR who has principal duty to argue the case in the absence of the lawyers concerned. The court noted that the record produced in court by the solicitor general had no such letter from Ghafoor, and issued show-cause notices to the solicitor general and Ghafoor for making false statements. The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday (today).