The facade of the Supreme Court. — SC website

The facade of the Supreme Court. — SC website
  • Coalition partners seek exclusion of Justice Ahsan and Justice Naqvi.
  • PM Shehbaz earlier noted he doesn’t expect justice from two SC judges.
  • Justice Mandokhail also says referring matter to CJ was “inappropriate”.

ISLAMABAD: The ruling parties — Pakistan Mulsim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) — Saturday demanded the formation of Supreme Court’s full court bench to hear the suo motu notice taken over the apparent delay in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa general elections.

The plea — moved through Farooq H Naek, Kamran Murtaza, and Masoor Usman Awan — also sought the exclusion of Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi.

The development comes a few days after Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial took a suo motu notice of an apparent delay in the elections of the assemblies, which dissolved in Punjab and KP on January 14 and 18, respectively, and also formed a larger bench to hear the case.

The bench began hearing the case on Thursday afternoon. According to the chief justice’s statement, the bench is to assess who is eligible to issue the date for polls, the constitutional responsibility of the federation and provinces, and who will fulfil the constitutional responsibility of conducting elections and when.

Meanwhile, the ruling coalition — including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif — has shared their reservations regarding the two judges in the bench. In a meeting presided by PM Shehbaz, the PML-N noted that it does not expect justice from the two SC judges and that they should recuse themselves from the benches hearing their cases.

The petition — submitted today — mentioned the violation of Article 10A right of the parties involved, while also noting that Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail stated that referring the matter to the chief justice for taking suo motu under Article 184(3) was inappropriate, who deemed the action “not justified”.

The top court’s judge also raised significant constitutional questions about the way the suo motu powers are to be exercised under the aforementioned article, the petition mentioned.

The petition stated that relevant stakeholders, who received notices from the top court, appeared before the court a day earlier through their counsels and requested the “recusal” of Justice Naqvi and Justice Ahsan via a joint statement from “hearing any matter involving PML (N), PPPP and JUI (Pakistan) and their leadership and in-specific SMC No. 1 of 2023 and CPs No.1 of 2023 and 2 of 2023.”

It added that the circumstances — as recorded in the chief justice’s note — have raised several questions of immense legal, constitutional and public importance.

Therefore, the parties have requested a reconstitution of the bench to hear the titled petitions and have mentioned doing so in the best interest of justice and fairness, and to strengthen the public confidence in the country’s Supreme Court.

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