The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan’s request for the formation of a full court to hear PTI’s petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to postpone elections to the Punjab Assembly until October 8 was rejected on Friday by a diminished Supreme Court bench consisting of three judges.
The case was heard by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Munib Akhtar after the original five-member bench was disbanded because Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail recused themselves.
The initial bench contained:
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial Justice Ijazul Ahsan Justice Munib Akhtar Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail Justice Aminuddin Khan The recusal of Justice Mandokhail, which occurred a day after Justice Khan, caught the apex court off guard today and fueled calls from government figures for a full court to be formed to hear the case.
However, the proceedings were overseen by CJP Bandial, Justice Ahsan, and Justice Akhtar.
Justice Mandokhail, following Justice Khan, withdraws from the bench hearing the PTI petition regarding the delay in Punjab elections.
The case is heard by a bench of three, consisting of CJP Bandial, Justice Ahsan, and Justice Akhtar.
Government’s request for full court is turned down by court.
Justice Bandial calls for dialogue and negotiations between the government and PTI.
According to CJP, SC judges are being targeted based on rumors.
According to AGP, Pakistan has a Rs1,500 billion deficit and an anticipated increase in interest rates.
SC brings secretaries of money and protection to court; The hearing was moved to April 3.
Justice Bandial remarked that the court had conducted proceedings into the case for three complete days and that the addition of new judges to the bench will further waste time during the hearing, when the AGP requested the formation of a full court.
He made the observation that “it will take time for the new judges to understand the case,” and he added that Article 184(3) of the Supreme Court Rules of 1980 was clear about the subject.
In addition, Justice Akhtar stated that while it was everyone’s right to request a full court, the government’s assertion that benches were constructed based on “favouritism” was a serious charge. According to the Supreme Court, the CJP is the master of making benches,” he continued.
‘Monday’s sun will bring uplifting news’
As the procedure initiated today, the administrator of the leader panel of the Pakistan Bar Gathering (PBC) showed up before the seat. However, the CJP stated that his arguments would be heard by the court later.
Hasan Raza Pasha of the PBC stated, “The bar has nothing to do with supporting anyone.” You can call a full court meeting if there is no bench.
The CJP answered that he was contemplating ready to move on and proceeded to say that the SC passes judgment on imparted great relations to one another.
He said, “Two judges recused themselves from the hearing today and yesterday,” revealing that the judges spoke politely before and after the recusals.
We also discussed a few reservations. The media and press conferences fueled some political issues, but the court acted with restraint throughout the matter.
Justice Bandial stated that he was investigating the matter and that various SC judges were receiving criticism from various individuals. On this matter, meet me in my chamber,” he told Pasha.
In addition, the CJP stated that Pasha had appeared in court for the first time today and that he had been instructed to demonstrate himself through actions rather than words. I have communicated with the Supreme Court Bar Association’s president; we respect you; come to my chamber.
Equity Bandial said that in the event that the matter was simply connected with “outer picture” “our lives would have been serene”.
The CJP made the observation, adding that he would hold some meetings following the hearing, “Media persons sometimes say wrong things, but the court always shows restraint.” Monday’s sun will ascend with uplifting news.”
The top court judge then requested Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan to present his arguments. CJP suggests dialogue between the government and PTI.
The AGP began by asking the court to lower the temperature within, stressing that the political temperature needed to be reduced everywhere in the country.
“How did you eliminate friction?” Awan responded, “The temperature will only cool down with time,” to the CJP’s inquiry here.
Justice Bandial stated, “The court has always given precedence to the Constitution,” pointing to the fact that judges have previously been removed from their offices and imprisoned in their homes. Although some of the best judges in the 1990s were unable to return, it is a miracle that they did.
He maintained that democracy was preserved by the Constitution. Because they are public representatives, those who were incarcerated up until yesterday are speaking in assemblies today.
He stated, “An assembly has a tenure and the head of the house has the right to dissolve it,” pointing out that the 90-day deadline for announcing elections would end in April.
On January 14, the Punjab Assembly was disbanded. President Arif Alvi had chosen April 30 for provincial elections after consulting with the ECP.
The CJP pointed out today at the hearing that the president’s suggested election date was already past the 90-day deadline. The ECP did not inform the president of the situation.
“Assuming they had gotten it done, the president could not have possibly given the date for April 30,” he expressed, bringing up that the matter before the court was of Oct 8.
“The court isn’t staying here to increment issues. Either give us substantial reasons or initiate a discourse. The chairman of one respondent, the PTI, has already provided a guarantee. Additionally, the government must move on.
In addition, the CJP stated that the assemblies’ term would end in August. If the government and the opposition want to negotiate, we can take a few days off. We fulfill our constitutional duty if the negotiations fail.
He went on to say that the court should be informed about the Rs20 billion spent on the elections first. The CJP also recalled his earlier suggestion to reduce government spending.
The CJP then brought attention to the country’s problem with terrorism by stating that half of the polling places were either very sensitive or very sensitive. It is insufficient to merely assert that the nation is rife with terrorism. Since the 1990s, terrorism has been around.
The court was informed that the military is busy at the border. This matter must be taken a gander at too,” he said.
“SC judges being targeted based on hearsay” At one point during the hearing, the AGP stated that he had read Justice Mandokhail’s dissenting note in the court order from yesterday, explaining that the judge had recused himself from the bench.
He continued, referring to the Supreme Court’s suo motu proceedings regarding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, “other points raised are related to the March 1 verdict.”
AGP Awan also emphasized that even the PTI petition being heard in court today was founded on the verdict of March 1 and recalled that “two members of the nine-member bench had distanced themselves from the bench” during the suo motu proceeding.
CJP Bandial inquired, ” Who informed you that two judges had withdrawn? Read the February 27 court order; Where in the order is that written?
The AGP then read aloud the court’s order from February 27. Justice Bandial emphasized, at the conclusion, that the court order stated that the matter had been sent to the CJP for a fresh bench reconstitution. I could have even changed all of the judges on the bench if I wanted to.
In addition, the country’s top judge stated that judges’ private conversations should not be made public. All of these issues will soon be resolved by us.
The AGP, on the other hand, stated that the government had requested the formation of a full court as soon as the hearing began.
The chief justice ordered, “Present your arguments on this point.” Additionally, this topic was on my mind. He explained that when courts formed benches, they had a lot to think about, one of which was that the benches shouldn’t affect everyday cases.
The number of cases heard on a daily basis has increased in recent years. All of the judges are frequently unavailable. A bench was present in Quetta and Karachi last week. This week, there is also a bench in Lahore.
The CJP stated that he considered all of the judges when forming a nine-member bench, referring to the suo motu elections in Punjab and KP.
“Justice Athar Minallah is compatible with the Constitution, in my opinion.” Constitutional experts include Justices Mansoor Ali Shah, Yahya Afridi, and Munib Akhtar. Additionally, Justice Ahsan is an authority on the law.
Justice Bandial said, “You can ask why Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi was included in the bench,” adding that the goal was to “give a silent message.”
After an audio clip purportedly featuring Justice Naqvi’s voice surfaced on social media, the government opposed Justice Naqvi’s inclusion on the nine-member bench that is examining the election suo motu case.
Today’s hearing featured Justice Bandial emphasizing that ongoing political issues were “targeting” SC judges.
He stated, “All judges are being made a target based on hearsay.” In some ways, the Supreme Court is still united as it has always been.
The top adjudicator likewise communicated that nobody could perceive how the legal executive was being impacted and the way individuals “sitting on significant positions are focusing on the legal executive”.
“I am being instructed to discipline another judge… first, go look at the evidence.”
He went on to say that the Supreme Court had the best judges in the last 20 years and that he appreciated the decisions made by Justices Ayesha Malik and Shahid Waheed.
“In the event that you chat based on regulation, I will pay attention to it as an appointed authority, however assuming you assault my appointed authorities, you should confront me,” a noticeably close to home CJP added.
Funds and security for elections, according to ECP lawyer Irfan Qadir, the court has not yet heard the entire stance of the electoral body. The CJP, on the other hand, stated that AGP Awan would present his arguments first.
In this way, Qadir whined that he had been sitting tight in the court for a really long time and simply required three minutes to talk. ” We can also get emotional if you can,” he continued.
However, the CJP instructed the AGP to carry on with his arguments. He emphasized that the government must provide security and funds for the elections, to which Awan responded that he would inform the court of the finances.
In this case, Justice Ahsan made it clear that the AGP had to legally help the court, and Justice Bandial said that the court would give all of the respondents a chance.
The AGP then, at that point, featured that the public authority was confronting a shortfall of Rs1,500 billion and the loan cost had expanded by 13pc, which he said was expanding the public authority’s obligation.
Justice Ahsan asked rhetorically, “Will the government go bankrupt by issuing Rs20 billion [for elections]?”
The CJP asked AGP Awan, “Attorney general sahib, talk about security and funds,” to which AGP Awan responded that the court should first listen to the political parties.
“I will illuminate the court on monetary issues after that.”
The CJP responded, ” We will likewise pay attention to Farooq H. Naek, Akram Sheik and Kamran Murtaza. However, we must first listen to Pakistan’s government.
In the meantime, Justice Akhtar asked the AGP to simply inform him whether the elections could be delayed until October 8. How much cash does the public authority have at the present time? How much money is in the consolidated federal funds?
“How much of the Rs1,500 billion deficit will increase if Rs20 billion is spent?” Justice Akhtar asked, and after that, he said that the expenses for the elections were less than one percent of the deficit.
The AGP stated in his response that the supplementary budget was anticipated to contain Rs170 billion.
“In whose hands are the consolidated federal funds?” Justice Akhtar inquired, to which Awan responded that the Finance Ministry controlled them.
The judge ordered, “Read out the 2019 rules and tell us who controls the funds,” pointing out that the consolidated funds were deposited in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act. We can call the SBP and inquire about their financial situation.
He added, “The ECP is looking at the government… it says that elections can be held on April 30 if funds are provided.”
Here, the CJP called attention to that having cash in reserves and having it accessible for spending were two distinct things. ” He added, “The SBP needs to keep money and gold reserves.”
The court then called the defense and finance secretaries to court and put off the hearing until next Monday, April 3.
Recusals by Justices Mandokhail and Khan Justice Mandokhail recused himself from the bench today, one day after Justice Aminuddin Khan withdrew from the bench, claiming that he was a signatory to an order from a different bench recommending the postponement of all cases brought under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
He had stated, “In view of the case No. 4 of 2022 (awarding of 20 additional marks in MBBS or BDS degrees to candidates for memorizing the Holy Quran), which is still in the field but the present bench is proceeding with the case (postponement of Punjab elections), therefore I recuse myself of the case.”
Following that, on Friday morning, a new bench was established with the four judges remaining except Justice
Nonetheless, when the procedure started, Equity Mandokhail declared his withdrawal from the seat.
He stated, “After Justice Aminuddin Khan recused himself from the bench, we were waiting for the court order.” Yesterday, I received the order at home.
The attorney general was then requested by Justice Mandokhail to read the order in court, which he did.
The request, a duplicate of which is accessible with Dawn.com, noticed that Equity Khan had recused himself from the seat yet the CJP, Equity Akhtar and Equity Ahsan “consciously clash” and accepted that the meeting for the situation would stay “unaffected”. It ordered that the case be heard by a bench without Justice Khan on it.
The dissenting note of Justice Mandokhail, which read as follows: The HCJ (chief justice) did not issue the order or consult with me. However, the court must take into account the impact of the judgment.
Justice Mandokhail stated, referring to his dissent note in SC today, that despite being a member of the bench, he was not consulted regarding the new bench’s formation.
The judge stated that “all the judges are bound by the Constitution” and that he thought he was a “misfit” on the new bench.
“The only way out” is a hearing in full court: minister In response to the development, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif stated that the establishment of a full-court bench to hear the Punjab poll delay case was urgently required by the judicial system.
The photograph shows Protection Priest Khawaja Asif talking outside the summit court on Friday. — Asif told DawnNewsTV that a significant problem that must be addressed was the loss of people’s confidence in the judiciary when he spoke to media representatives outside of the SC today. He reiterated the coalition government’s request for the establishment of a full court, which has been made since the beginning of the case.
He stated that the nation was observing the situation with “despondency” and expressed disappointment and concern regarding the judges’ recusals.
Asif acknowledged that the current turn of events was unfortunate and that people had high expectations for the judiciary. He added that disagreements and arguments were a natural part of political culture but not of their [judicial] culture.
PTI petition In their petition, which was moved by the party’s Secretary General Asad Umar, former Punjab Assembly Speaker Mohammad Sibtain Khan, former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, and former Punjab lawmakers Abdul Rehman and Mian Mahmoodur Rashid, the PTI argued that the ECP’s decision was contrary to the Constitution and akin to amending and subverting it.
In the petition, the PTI asked the federal government to ensure law and order, provide funds, and provide security personnel in accordance with the ECP’s requirements for holding the elections.
It also requested that the court instruct the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to announce the election date for the provincial assembly. KP Governor Ghulam Ali also proposed October 8 as the date for provincial elections last week. He had previously announced that polls would be held on May 28.
The PTI questioned the ECP’s authority to “amend the Constitution” and inquired as to how it could decide to postpone elections to any assembly for more than the required 90 days following the dissolution of the assembly.
The petition argued that the ECP lacked the authority to review or overturn the Supreme Court’s decisions because it was obligated to abide by them and carry them out.
The Punjab Assembly election must be held within 90 days, according to the Supreme Court’s March 1 ruling, with the president announcing the date. According to the petition, it also instructed the authorities to provide ECP with funds and security personnel for the elections.
According to the petition, the ECP cannot ignore the Supreme Court’s orders as it did in this case, which was illegal and liable to be overturned. The ECP has extended the elections by more than 183 days beyond the Constitution’s 90-day limit by announcing October 8 as the date.
That’s what the request said assuming the reason of inaccessibility of safety faculty was acknowledged this time, it will start a trend to postpone any future decisions.
In addition, the petition stated that there was no assurance that these factors—the security situation, lack of security personnel, and financial constraints—would improve by October 8.
The petitioners feared that the “so-called excuse” would mean that every time elections were due, the Constitution could be held in abeyance, adding that similar situations have occurred in the past, but elections were held despite them.
These circumstances cannot be used as justifications to “subvert” the Constitution and deny people their right to vote.
According to the petition’s explanation, “not holding elections in case of threats by terrorists will amount to giving in to the threats, which is in fact the aim of all terrorist activities.”