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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court advised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers to return to the Parliament as the people have elected them for five years.

A two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on Thursday, heard PTI Secretary General Asad Umar’s appeal against the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC’s) verdict on the acceptance of their MNAs’ resignations by the National Assembly speaker, phase-wise.

Chief Justice IHC Athar Minallah, on September 6, had turned down the PTI’s petition challenging the phase-wise acceptance of resignations of its Members of National Assembly (MNAs) and declared that the then deputy speaker Qasim Suri’s issued notification of acceptance of the resignation is “in violation of the Constitution”.

During the proceeding, Justice Bandial again asked the PTI lawmakers to return to Parliament. He said the people have elected them for five years, therefore, they should play their role in the Parliament. The chief justice further said it was the prerogative of the Speaker to adopt a procedure for the acceptance of members’ resignations.

“We can’t interfere in the internal proceeding of the Parliament as we respect it.” “The court interferes only when there is a constitutional violation,” the CJP further said. Interfering into the Speaker’s jurisdiction will be difficult for the court, he added.

Acceptance of MNAs’ resignations: PTI moves SC against IHC’s order

The chief justice inquired from Faisal Chaudhry, PTI lawyer, that by acceptance of MNAs’ resignations what political mileage the PTI wanted to achieve. He said the court cannot be of any assistance in this regard and asked the counsel, to cross the bar of Article 69 of the Constitution then they would listen to him.

Justice Ayesha remarked while addressing the PTI lawyer why their MNAs did not contact the Speaker but directly approached the Court. “Now you are asking us to interfere in the Parliament’s affairs, which will be a wrong precedence,” she said, adding; “If today it is benefiting the party, but in the future, it could damage it.” “We can’t even ask the Speaker what procedure should be adopted for running his affairs.”

The chief justice said there is nothing in the then deputy speaker Qasim Suri’s order for acceptance of the PTI MNAs’ resignations. He asked the counsel not to take the court on former deputy speaker’s order as it would create problems.

Faisal Chaudhry argued that Suri had accepted the resignations, adding once the resignations are accepted they could not be verified.

Justice Ayesha observed that in Suri’s order there is no name of any member, whose resignation was accepted. She questioned how the PTI as a party could approach the court in this matter as the resignation is an individual act of the members.

Justice Bandial said millions of people have become homeless due to the deluge. The flood affectees do not have food, drinking water, and are living under the sky. People from abroad are coming for the rescue of the flood victims. The chief justice further said that the economic situation of the country is not good. He asked Faisal Chaudhary does he know how much expenses would be for holding by-elections on 123 seats.

The chief justice said that CJ IHC Athar Minallah after examining the legal points delivered the judgment. He said in State affairs one needs to show tolerance and inclusiveness and advised the PTI lawyer not to show hurry.

Faisal Chaudhary argued that the IHC declared that they could not interfere in the Speaker’s domain, but on other hand, suspended the Speaker’s order on the application of Shakoor Shad. He said except Shakoor Shad (the PTI MNA) no other PTI lawmaker denied that he/she had not resigned. He further contended that it cannot happen that the government hold elections in its selected constituencies.

He said the judgement is “vague, cursory and against the law and has been rendered in a mechanical manner without addressing the material legal and constitutional questions raised in the writ petition”. It also claims that the IHC disregarded the material facts of the case at hand and failed to adhere to the principle that each case has to be decided on its own peculiar facts.

The chief justice asked whether someone has inquired from the Speaker why he is not accepting the resignations. He said the Speaker has its own system how the court can intervene in it.

The chief justice said they are giving one more opportunity to the PTI MNAs to ponder upon their resignations. He asked the counsel to take instruction from the PTI Chairman, Imran Khan, on the matter and prepare arguments on Article 69 of the Constitution. The case was adjourned for an indefinite period.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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