SC form larger bench to hear presidential reference about Article 63(A)

SC form larger bench to hear presidential reference about Article 63(A)

Islamabad (Web Desk): The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday formed a larger bench on a presidential reference seeking its opinion on Article 63(A) of the Constitution, which deals with the disqualification of parliamentarians over defection.

Names of the judges who will constitute the five-member larger bench are yet to be finalised.

The larger bench of the SC will start the proceedings from March 24 as the court issued notices to all political parties.

Attorney-General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan filed the reference on behalf of President Dr Arif Alvi.

A two-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Munib Akhtar, took up the reference along with a plea filed by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) seeking the top court's intervention to prevent "anarchy" ahead of the no-trust vote.

The AGP apprised the court that the federal government has filed a reference to seek the opinion of the top court in the presidential reference under the jurisdiction of the Constitution’s Article 186.

During the hearing Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial also remarked that the process would not interrupt the political proceedings happening in the country, but it would only consider legal perspectives on the issue.

All of this was the assembly's "internal matter", the chief justice observed, adding that it would be "better if the assembly's fight was fought inside the assembly".

"The court has to ensure that nobody's right is affected [and] nobody is deprived from voting because of any event," he said. "Voting is a constitutional right of the members."

The Supreme Court has to decide in accordance with the law and the Constitution, Justice Bandial said, adding that the court has not yet been "convinced to interfere in the assembly's proceedings".

AGP told the court that no lawmaker would be stopped from voting on the no-trust move, however, he maintained that action will be taken against those voting against party policy under Article 63(A).

Meanwhile, Speaker Asad Qaiser convened a crucial session of the National Assembly on March 25 (Friday) to deliberate on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to a notification issued by the NA secretariat, the session of the lower house will be held at Parliament House on Friday at 11am.