Punjab polls delay: another SC judge recuses himself as hearing adjourned
- Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail is the second judge to recuse
The Supreme Court (SC) hearing for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) plea against the delay in Punjab elections was adjourned till Monday. Earlier in the day, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail had recused himself from the bench, becoming the second judge to do so.
Earlier when the hearing resumed, Justice Mandokhail said he believed he was a “misfit” in the bench. He said that despite being a member of the bench, he was not consulted regarding the formation of the new one.
The initial bench comprised Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Khan, and Justice Mandokhail.
However, CJP Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar continued the hearing.
As the proceeding commenced, the CJP asked Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan to present his arguments. Later, the bench adjourned the hearing till Monday.
On Thursday, the five-member bench was dissolved after Justice Aminuddin Khan recused himself, referring to a judgment on suo motu power of the chief justice of Pakistan, released a day ago (March 29) by a three-judge bench, saying that “I want to recuse from the bench”.
Following this, a new bench was formed with the SC announcing that the decision regarding the bench members would be taken on Friday (today), and the case would be decided before a bench that does not include Justice Aminuddin.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, and comprising Justice Aminuddin and Justice Shahid Waheed with a majority of 2 to 1 released the judgment on Wednesday (March 29), which said: “Hearing of all the cases under Article 184(3) of the Constitution be deferred until the changes are made in the Supreme Court Rules 1980 regarding the discretionary powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to form benches.” Justice Amin endorsed Justice Qazi’s views, while Justice Shahid dissented.
New SC bench to hear Punjab elections delay case tomorrow after Justice Aminuddin’s recusal
On March 1, the Supreme Court said elections for the Punjab Assembly must be held within 90 days and that the president announces the date. However, the ECP decided to push Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa elections from April 30 to October 8, citing the deteriorating security situation in the country and the unavailability of finances and security personnel as reasons.
The PTI challenged this in court, and a hearing began on Monday. On Wednesday, the SC had asked the ECP to comply with its order. Chief Justice Bandial asked the ECP to find a way to hold elections, suggesting that if there are security issues, then polls could be held on two days instead of one. The ECP was asked to prepare a comprehensive plan for elections and present it in court today (Thursday).
The CJP had also noted on Wednesday that elections have been held in the country despite the terrorism it has faced in the past 20 years.