The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday adjourned the suo moto hearing into the case relating to the ongoing constitutional crisis in the country that emerged after the ruling of the NA deputy speaker and the subsequent dissolution of the lower house on the advice of PM Imran Khan till tomorrow (6 April).
The five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Aijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel heard the case, reports The News.
On Sunday, CJP Bandial had taken suo motu notice of the constitutional crisis in the country, clubbing multiple petitions filed by various parties and the presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63(A) of the Constitution with it.
At the outset of today's hearing, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial sought minutes of the crucial session of the National Assembly which was held on March 31 to debate the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan.
Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial ordered Naeem Bokhari, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser's counsel, to present the NA session's minutes before the top court.
Former Senate Chairman and PPP leader Raza Rabbani pleaded before the apex court to issue a brief ruling in the case today.
At this, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial stated that they will issue the order today if all the parties complete their arguments.
Terming the NA deputy speaker's ruling "illegal", Raza Rabbani said that Qasim Khan Suri's ruling is based on "dishonesty". As per the National Assembly Rule 28, the deputy speaker cannot issue a ruling even if he has the powers, argued Rabbani.
He maintained that the no-confidence motion cannot be rejected without conducting voting on it. The PPP leader declared the ruling violation of the Constitution.
During the previous hearing, the SC had said that it would decide the case after hearing all the parties. The apex court had said it respects all the political parties but it would not consider political statements. The court had said it would also determine whether the deputy speaker had the powers of ruling or not.
Hearing arguments, CJP Bandial had said that the National Assembly deputy speaker oversaw the proceedings of the house; however, it would be examined as to what was the ambit of Article 69 of the Constitution.
He had asked how the speaker could give a ruling on whether the motion was legal or illegal. "Does the speaker have no authority to reject the no-confidence motion?" he had asked. "If the speaker cannot reject no-confidence motioned citing Article 5 of the Constitution," the CJP had asked further.
SC rejects full court demand
Rejecting the plea of Farooq H Naek, counsel for the Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarian, for the constitution of a full court bench and ruling on the matter on Monday, the chief justice said: "The ruling cannot come out of thin air" and adjourned the case for Tuesday (today). Justice Ahsen remarked: "An instant judgment will have repercussions."
The chief justice, however, had asked the counsel to justify on what constitutional grounds the full court was necessary. In response, Farooq H Naek submitted that he had full confidence in the present bench.
The CJP had asked the counsel to justify the ruling of the deputy speaker was unconstitutional and on what stage the speaker determined the legal status of no-confidence. This question has to be answered by the counsel for all the political parties on the matter at hand which is very important", the CJP had said.
Justice Munib Akhtar had said that under Article 69, the ruling of the speaker of the house was fully protected. "In my opinion, the deputy speaker has acted beyond his jurisdiction," the judge remarked.
Justice Munib Akhtar had asked what would happen if the speaker did not allow a no-trust motion in case equal numbers of members in the house were in favour and opposition. The judge had said the speaker under Rule 28 could give a ruling in the house or on the file at his office.
"In my opinion, the deputy speaker was not authorised to give such a ruling." Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel had said the debate had not been mentioned in Article 95, adding it only talks about voting on a no-confidence motion and the majority of the members.
During the course of the hearing, Babar Awan had appeared on behalf of the PTI and submitted that instant suo moto proceedings be held on the Presidential Reference filed in the apex court seeking interpretation of Article 63-A.
The chief justice, however, had termed the stance of Babar Awan a political statement, adding the court will have to look into the happening in the assembly and it will examine its legal aspect.