Govt seeks stay order on SC’s verdict in army chief’s extension case | Pakistan Today

Govt seeks stay order on SC’s verdict in army chief’s extension case

–Petition requests apex court to stay its decision until it reviews govt’s challenge against Nov 28, 2019, judgement 

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday filed a civil miscellaneous petition in the Supreme Court (SC), seeking a stay order on the apex court’s verdict in the army chief’s extension case.

The petition requested that a stay order remains in effect until a decision on the government’s review petition on the verdict has been made.

Earlier, on Nov 28, 2019, a three-member bench of the top court announced that General Qamar Javed Bajwa will remain the COAS for another six months, during which the parliament will legislate on the extension/reappointment of an army chief.

In response to this, the federal government submitted a review petition on Dec 26, 2019, against the top court’s verdict, seeking for it to be set aside.

The review petition was filed after the government said that it found “glaring omissions and mistakes” in the verdict, arguing that a directive to the legislature could be given by courts only to avert a situation of unconstitutionality or illegality, not to convert a convention into codified law. Thus the apex court could not interfere in the legislative domain or assume a parallel legislative function, it contended.

Through the Nov 28, 2019 verdict, the petition had argued that the SC stepped into the shoes of the executive, substituting its opinion when the Constitution never empowered the court to settle the tenure or terms and conditions of the army chief.

Meanwhile, the petition filed on Thursday asks for the SC verdict on the army chief’s extension to not be implemented until a verdict is announced on the review petition filed by the government.

It also asks for the previously filed review petition to be included in the latest application and for the constitution of a larger bench, comprising five judges, to hear the review petition.

CABINET OKAYS AMENDMENTS IN ARMY ACT ‘IN LIGHT OF SC ORDER’:

In sharp contrast to its stance, the government on Wednesday, in adherence to the court’s Nov 28 decision, approved proposed amendments to the Constitution and the Army Act in order to give a three-year extension to the army chief.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s order to remove ambiguity in rules on the issue of extension in the army chief’s tenure, the government also decided to introduce the amendment bill in parliament on Friday after building a consensus with the opposition on the matter.

“According to an amendment, the maximum age limit for an army chief will be 64 years and this will be applied in case of extension in his term, but the regular age limit of COAS will be 60 years,” a cabinet member said, insisting that it would be the prime minister’s prerogative whether to give extension to the army chief in future.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had previously extended Bajwa’s tenure through a notification in August 2019, but the top court suspended it on Nov 26, 2019, due to irregularities in the manner of extension.



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