Suo motu on deputy speaker’s ruling was justified: CJ

Explains notice taken on bench’s discretion, not because of someone else’s desires

Supreme Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Monday defended the apex court’s suo motu notice of the parliamentary crisis last month, saying the decision was made following discussions between 12 supreme court judges, all of whom said that it was a “constitutional matter”.

On April 3, Justice Bandial took a suo motu notice of the constitutional crisis in the country as National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri dismissed a no-confidence motion against the then prime minister Imran Khan. He had also clarified that all orders and actions taken by the prime minister and president regarding the matter would be dependent on the court’s order, which had restored the assembly.

The Supreme Court’s notice was censured by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmakers.

In his comments today during the hearing of a presidential reference which seeks the apex court’s opinion on Article 63-A of the constitution regarding disqualification of defecting lawmakers, Justice Bandial said that the apex court’s notice was justified. “Everyone believed that it was a constitutional matter so notice should be taken,” the CJ said.

Meanwhile, PTI’s counsel, Babar Awan, said he wanted to aid the SC in the case asking for the court’s opinion on Article 63-A of the Constitution, adding that he “greatly respected” the court.

Justice Mandokhail replied that the same level of respect should also be spread among the people, referencing the comments against the judiciary made by the party leadership. To this, Awan replied that it was the information ministry’s job to get the public to respect the judiciary.

He went on to discuss the recent constitutional crisis in Punjab saying that President Arif Alvi did not respond even when the Lahore High Court had “made derisive observations” against him. To this, Chief Justice Bandial told asked him to submit an application if the observations were not correct.