Fehmida's Ruling: Rowdy scenes in SC as AG terms CJP biased
15 June, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday witnessed rowdy scenes during a hearing of separate petitions against the National Assembly speaker's ruling in the prime minister's disqualification case.
The attorney general and a few lawyers exchanged harsh words during the proceedings of the case, while the former accused the chief justice of bias.
The chief justice asked Aitzaz Ahsan why had he not submitted an oral or written objection for suspension of the judgement in the prime minister's case at the time of its announcement. On this, the attorney general said the judges did not listen to Aitzaz and went away without giving him a hearing. A few lawyers belonging to Lahore High Court Bar Association, Rawalpindi bench, present in the court, objected to the AG's remarks, which led to an uproar. The court management called in police to normalise the situation and to maintain the court decorum. The police took the lawyers out of the courtroom.
The court observed that the National Assembly speaker had no right to give a ruling on Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's contempt of court matter when the highest court of the country had delivered an elaborate and clear judgement in the case. The court also rejected the plea by PM's counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, to adjourn the case until Wednesday, and directed him to resume arguments on Friday (today).
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing separate petitions of similar nature that had been filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, PML-N central leader Khawaja Asif, Muhammad Azhar Siddique, Senator Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi and Advocate Chaudhry Muhammad Sahwa against the NA speaker's ruling and the disqualification of the prime minister.
The attorney general accused the chief justice of bias and said he should not be hearing the petitions against the speaker's ruling. He also asked the court to makes changes in its previous order in the case, to which the chief justice responded, asking how could he dictate the bench to change the order. "We are not changing it," he declared.
During the proceeding, the chief justice remarked that it was a case in which judgement has been concluded as neither an appeal was filed nor request was made for its suspension. Hamid Khan, counsel for Imran Khan, argued that no question had arisen under Article 63(2) of the constitution. He said that question arises when the appellate court had taken cognisance of the matter. He submitted 14 formulations regarding his case. He stated that the NA speaker has usurped the authority of appellate court. She has obstructed the course of justice and access to justice by not sending the reference to the Election Commission, the counsel argued.
NA resolution supports Fehmida's ruling on PM Gilani
The Lower House of parliament on Thursday passed a resolution in favour of its speaker's ruling, refusing to disqualify Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani after his conviction in the contempt of court case, declaring that it could not be questioned. The resolution surprised the opposition PML-N that was protesting at the time the resolution was being tabled.
Immediately after approval of the federal budget, the treasury side rushed to table the resolution in the House when the opposition was busy creating a rumpus by assembling before the speaker's dice.
The opposition was taken aback when Law Minister Farooq H Naek read the resolution after suspension of rules, and came to know about it only after its approval. The resolution endorsed the speaker's ruling under Clause (2) of Article 63 of the constitution. It termed the ruling "within the ambit and scope of the function and powers conferred upon the speaker" and mentioned that the ruling was part of parliament's proceedings that cannot be questioned.