CJP: Top Court concerned with constitutionality, not policy matters

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SC will merely decide on legitimacy of the Speaker’s action; adjourns case till today

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said on Tuesday that the Supreme Court did not want to get into the investigation of policy matters as it only wanted to ascertain the constitutionality of the steps taken by the deputy speaker for the dismissal of the no-confidence of motion and subsequent dissolution of the National Assembly.

As a constitutional crisis gripped the country following the speaker’s ruling, the apex court had taken a suo motu notice to resolve the matter on the insistence of the opposition parties that had also petitioned the court for the same.

On the hearing on Tuesday, Chief Justice Bandial said, “Our sole focus is on the ruling of the deputy speaker…it is our priority to decide on that particular issue.”

The apex court wanted to see if the ruling of the deputy speaker could be reviewed by the bench, the top judge said. “The court does not interfere in the state matters and foreign affairs,” he said, adding that the SC will merely decide on the legitimacy of the speaker’s action.

“We will ask all parties to focus on this point,” the CJ added. Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the court at present was concerned with constitutional matters only.

PML-N lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan, while alluding to the foreign conspiracy, said if the Supreme Court wanted to check the loyalty of opposition parties’ members then the bench may get a briefing in the chamber from the head of the premier agency of the country.

“We will listen to the attorney general and get back to you in case of questions,” the SC judge responded.

Makhdoom said that Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling is against the letter and spirit of the constitution. He said that Article 95 had been left redundant by this ruling. The lawyer said that Article 69 of the constitution did not provide cover for such an unconstitutional ruling.

However, Justice Munib Akhtar wondered that if the court opened the door by adjudicating the speaker’s ruling then every act of the speaker would be challenged in the superior courts.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail asked whether the ruling was illegal or came under the purview of a procedural lapse. The counsel said it was not a procedural lapse but also unconstitutional.

He also questioned the nomination of ex-chief justice Gulzar Ahmed as caretaker PM by the PTI at this time when the bench is adjudicating the matter.

 

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