SC intends to wind up Article 63(A) presidential reference tomorrow: CJ

SC adjourns hearing till Tuesday, discards AGP Ashtar Ausaf and PML-N's pleas seeking extension

Supreme Court Chief Justice on Monday announced that the Supreme Court intended to wind up the presidential reference that seeks interpretation on the Article 63(A) of the constitution tomorrow.

A five-member larger bench, led by CJ Umar Ata Bandial, and consisting of Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, heard the case.

During the hearing, Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan asked the court for an extension in order to complete their arguments.

However, the CJ rejected the request remarking that the court intended to make a decision on the case.

The top judge reprimanded the AGP for “trying to delay the case after promising to assist the court” in today’s hearing. AGP Ausaf, during the previous hearing, had requested the court to permit him to present his arguments on Monday.

“This is one of the most important affairs of public interest. Both AGP Ausaf and Khan are the counsels of the government […] their pleas for extension mean that the incumbent government wants to defer the case,” CJ Bandial remarked.

Meanwhile, Balochistan National Party-Mengal’s (BNP) counsel Mustafa Ramday upheld that he would not support any dissident. He maintained that Article 63(A) limits defection and elaborates the whole process in the event the offense is committed.

He went on to say that the court would have the option to consider Article 62-63.

Ramday said that it was not crucial that the defection aids anyone and that’s the motive behind keeping de-seating as the punishment. The CJ questioned if Ramday intended to state that de-seating was adequate for defection. Responding, the lawyer said that he did not want to move beyond the procedure given in Article 63(A).

The court then ordered the PML-N counsel to submit his arguments in writing today. Afterwards, the court adjourned the hearing on the presidential reference till tomorrow.