A complaint has been filed in the Supreme Judicial Council for the removal of Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Umar Ata Bandial.
According to details, Complaint, filed by lawyer Raja Sibtain Khan claiming that the chief justice engaged in misconduct by dividing judges into groups and securing their support to influence the outcome of a case.
“It is talk of the town that the incumbent Chief Justice has devised groupings within the vagaries of the August Supreme Court of Pakistan,” the reference reads.
The complaint relates to a case about the delay of provincial elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and argues that the chief justice constituted a bench based on these groupings to obtain a majority decision in favor of his own interests.
The complaint claims that the actions of the chief justice violated the Constitution and the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan, and demonstrated unfaithfulness and disloyalty to the State. The complainant has called for an investigation into the matter and for the chief justice to be removed from his position.
Remember that, move to filed complaint comes amid an ongoing clash between the PDM government and the judiciary over the holding of elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces with in 90 days.
Supreme Court Verdict
On 5th April Supreme court three-member bench heading by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — announced the reserved verdict on the PTI’s petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s order postponing the elections in Punjab and KP.
The Supreme Court declared the ECP’s order postponing the provincial assembly elections until October 8 as “unconstitutional” and ordered the government to release Rs21 billion funds for elections in Punjab by April 10.
The top court also directed to conduct Punjab polls on May 14. Supreme Court also directed Pak Army to provide security for the upcoming elections and also orders to ECP to hold elections by 14th March.
Parliament rejects Supreme Court Verdict
The National Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution rejecting the three-member Supreme Court bench’s verdict on the Punjab polls. Parliament passes the resolution to reject the Top Court Verdict of holding election in Punjab by 14th May.
The resolution, moved by Balcohsitan Awami Party (BAP) lawmaker Khalid Magsi, was approved by a majority of the lawmakers.
The motion urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet not to abide by the three-member Supreme Court ruling.
Reading out the resolution on the floor of the National Assembly, Balcohsitan Awami Party lawmaker Khalid Magsi said: “This House rejects the minority decision of the three-member bench and binds the prime minister and the cabinet not to implement the unconstitutional and unlawful decision.”
The resolution noted that PDM Alliance had called on the top court to form a full court bench but it was ignored and only one political party was heard in the case.
It further said that the house considers the conduct of general elections simultaneously across the country as the solution to all the problems. The resolution also demanded the formation of a full court bench to review the “wrong interpretation” of Article 63-A.
Earlier Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif described the decision, in a cabinet meeting, as a “mockery of the Constitution and law” and said it could not be implemented.
A mockery was being made with constitution and law and fate of the nation was being decided with strange decisions, he had said.
“How a decision of another bench was neglected while members of the three-judge bench who had earlier recused themselves and again joined it!” he questioned.
Contempt of Court
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Mohsin Leghari, while opposing the resolution warned that, House was treading on a dangerous path, and asked: “Are we committing contempt of court?”
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Mohsin Leghari, while opposing the resolution, warned that the House was treading on a dangerous path, and asked: “Are we committing contempt of court?”
He further warned that a “war” with the Supreme Court would be “very dangerous” and said that a resolution, such as the one tabled should be passed after rational consideration and not under the flow of passion.
He defended the SC’s move on the Punjab elections and said that the apex court had announced for elections to be held within 90 days since that was instructed by the Constitution, and expressed concern that 90% of the actions of the House were based on criticising PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
“Even though Imran is not in the House, he is on everyone’s minds” Legahri declared, as other members of PTI protested against the resolution.
ECP announces Election Schedule
Earlier Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issues the schedule for elections in Punjab that are to be held by 14th as per direction by the Supreme Court verdict.
According to the ECP notification, the Polling for the Punjab Assembly elections will be held on 14th May 2023. The Election Commission also cancels its earlier schedule regarding the holding of general elections in Punjab by 8th October.
As per the schedule, appeals can be filed against the decisions of Returning Officers regarding rejection or accepting nomination papers on April 10.
The ECP schedule comes hours after the consultative meeting of the Election Commission, under the chair of CEC Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja that was held in Islamabad today (Wednesday) to deliberate on the Supreme Court’s (SC)’s verdict regarding Punjab Assembly elections.
During the meeting, the ECP lawyers briefed the commission about the legal aspects and prospects of the implementation on the apex court’s order.
Sources said the participants in the meeting also decided to consult the caretaker Punjab government for administrative and security matters.
The ECP has also decided to consult with the finance ministry and federal Government for the release of funds required for Punjab polls.