Saturday, December 3

Punjab CM election case: SC rejects appeal to constitute full court

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the ruling party’s petition seeking formation of a full court bench to hear the case pertaining to the ruling of the Punjab Deputy Speaker about election of Hamza Shahbaz as Punjab Chief Minister.

A three-member SC bench comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar rejected the petition from the ruling parties and the bar to form a full court. However, the court adjourned the hearing on Ch Parvez Elahi’s petition against the ruling of the Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari in the election of the Chief Minister till tomorrow (Tuesday) 11:30 pm. Lawyers will present arguments on merits of the case tomorrow.

The apex court said that according to the Constitution of Pakistan, the parliamentary party gives instructions to vote. The court further said in its decision that the Supreme Court has already given a brief decision on Article 63A on May 17. The court said that facts in re-election case are different from case on dissident MPAs.

On the appeal of the full court from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as a party in Ch Parvez Elahi’s petition against the ruling of the Punjab Deputy Speaker, CJP Justice Bandial said Hamza Shehbaz needed solid grounds to retain Punjab Chief Minister. He said today, that the highest vote-gainer is out and a candidate who has taken only 179 votes is the Chief Minister.

The Supreme Court has decided to hear all the parties first and then decide whether to form a full court or not. The hearing in the SC started after a break at 5:30 pm sharp and Chief Justice said they have considered making a full court, but then thought should first look at the facts of the case. On this, Hamza Shehbaz’s lawyer and others asked for time to consult with their parties in case of not form a full court.

CJP Bandial remarks party head will have to listen to the parliamentary party’s opinion, adding full bench is formed only in serious matters. Justice Ahsan said parliamentary party decides who to vote for in the assembly. Justice Ahsan observes deputy speaker exceeded court’s interpretation in his ruling.

Mazari’s lawyer Irfan Qadir said he was instructed to speak regarding the formation of the full court only; therefore, he needed time to take instructions from his client. Hamza Shahbaz’s counsellor Mansoor Awan also sought time to take instructions for arguments on merit. After hearing the arguments, the CJP said Supreme Court sent the prime minister home with five judges at that time you [coalition parties] were celebrating and now you are standing against this.