Supreme Court Justice Umar Ata Bandial. — Twitter/File


Supreme Court Justice Umar Ata Bandial. — Twitter/File
  • Sources say CJP will consult fellow Supreme Court judges on PM’s presser.
  • PM has not yet officially approached SC for full court: sources.
  • Legal fraternity is of view PM has no authority to ask CJP to constitute full court.

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial is likely to deliberate on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s request for a full court to examine the assassination attempt of PTI chief Imran Khan, The News reported Monday. 

PM Shehbaz requested Justice Bandial to form a full-court commission to investigate the attack on the former prime minister to end “chaos and evil”. He added that he would write to the chief justice to form a full court soon.

During the press conference in Lahore, the PM said that questions will be raised in the future if this appeal is not listened to, urging that a judicial investigation was important to bring the truth before the people.

Well-placed sources privy to the development confirmed to The News on Sunday that Justice Bandial will consult fellow judges of the Supreme Court today on the premier’s presser. 

Monday is a hectic day as the highest court will take up several high-profile and important cases, including the Ministry of Interior’s petition seeking initiation of contempt proceeding under Article 204 of the Constitution against Khan for violating its order of May 25 as well as Presidential Reference seeking the top court’s opinion on the Reko Diq settlement agreement.

Sources said PM Shehbaz has not yet officially approached the country’s highest court for the formation of a full court for probing the Wazirabad incident. “After the chief justice receives the official request from the Prime Minister’s office, pros and cons of the possibility of formation of the judicial commission would be looked into,” the sources revealed.

The sources further revealed that due to the high load of cases pending before the top court for adjudication and current cases, the top court cannot spare all the judges for probing the assassination attempt on Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, the legal fraternity is of the view that the prime minister has no authority to ask the chief justice to constitute a full court for probing any matter adding that it is the prerogative of the chief justice to do so.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Shah Khawar said the federal government can request for the constitution of a judicial commission comprising sitting judges for probing any matter but it is the discretion and prerogative of Justice Bandial to constitute a committee to conduct a judicial inquiry so requested. 

The CJP is not obliged to constitute a full-court commission, assigning reasons that such a high number of judges could not be spared for such tasks.

Khawar said the federal government or the premier may invoke Article 184(3) of the Constitution by filing a petition in the Supreme Court of public importance adding that the Supreme Court can also exercise its original jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution by taking suo moto notice if the matter is of public importance.

“At the same time, the federal government, whenever it considers it expedient to conduct an inquiry into any public importance issue, it may by notification in the official gazette, constitute a commission of inquiry to probe any matter,” Khawar said

The said commission of inquiry, he said, can conduct an inquiry into a matter by exercising powers as judicial proceedings where the committee can call into aid every executive authority of the country.

“The set commission has to prepare a report to submit before the federal government and the federal government can make it public within 30 days,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Muhammad Azhar Siddique, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, is of the opinion that the premier has no authority and jurisdiction to suggest the constitution of a commission by a full court for probing any matter. 

He said it is the discretion of the CJP either to constitute a full court or not. This is a prerogative of cabinet in terms of articles 90 and 91 of the Constitution to request the Supreme Court for the constitution of any commission, he said. 

He added the federal government can constitute an inquiry commission in terms of the provision of the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 2017 and can request for the nomination of a judge to be the head of the commission but cannot request for a full court to head the commission.

“The federal government in terms of Article 184(3) of the Constitution can file a public interest petition in the Supreme Court for an inquiry in line with the Memogate scam,” Siddique added.


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