Babar calls for legislation to determine limits of suo motu powers


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) Secretary-General and former senator Farhatullah Babar, expressing disappointment over the rejection of the review petitions in the benami accounts case, called for an early determination of the limits of suo motu powers of the Supreme Court (SC).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Farhatullah Babar said that the points raised in the review petition particularly with regards to the limitations on the exercise of suo motu powers are of fundamental importance and calls for a parliamentary debate on the determination of limits of these powers.

He also recalled the interview of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Munich the other day underlining that he had not been given an opportunity to present his point of view in a court of law in the said case which, he said, was a negation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to fair trial under Article 10-A of the Constitution.

Suo motu notice was taken by the SC on the ground of slackness in investigations in the case, he said.

The PPPP SG said that Bilawal Bhutto, in his petition, had questioned whether slackness in the progress of a case constituted a valid ground for use of suo motu powers. FIR had been registered, investigations were continuing, the preliminary report had been finalised and the case was proceeding in banking court, he added.

That is why the review petition also urged the SC to constitute a larger bench to address the constitutional issue of limits of suo motu powers, he added.

Farhatullah Babar said that the SC was the highest court of appeal against which there is no appeal. When it decides a case by taking a suo motu notice the aggrieved is left with no forum to appeal the verdict, he stated.

He said that the absence of a forum for appeal is against the basic principle of justice, therefore, it is all the more necessary to revisit the procedure for taking up cases under suo motu powers.

The PPP, however, has always respected court verdicts even if it disagreed with them, he said.

Babar said that the PPP will work towards a parliamentary debate on Article 184 (3) of the Constitution with a view to making legislation for a determination of the powers under suo motu jurisdiction.