March 19th, 2022
By Rehan Piracha
While issuing notices to opposition parties on the hearing on March 21, the Supreme Court observed that political aspect of the no-confidence motion was a non-legal matter which does not fall under its jurisdiction.
The petition was filed by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SBCA) to seek the apex court intervention in order to prevent a violent clash between the government and opposition parties ahead of the no-trust in Islamabad.
A two-member bench, comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Munib Akhtar, had earlier fixed hearing of the petition for March 21 but after news of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters storming the Sindh House where some defecting party members were staying was splashed, the petition was fixed on the urgent cause list issued on Saturday.
“Insofar as the political aspect of the proceedings under Article 95 (relating to no-confidence motion) of the Constitution is concerned, that is a non-legal matter which does not relate to the jurisdiction of this Court,” the Supreme Court observed in its order after the hearing.
“With respect to the proceedings under Article 95 of the Constitution being conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the law, except the incident of the last evening (storming of Sindh House), there is presently nothing before us that invites our attention either in the public interest or on account of the violation of constitutional principles,” reads the order.
The Supreme Court also issued notices to PTI and opposition parties Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Peoples Party, Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl, Balochistan National Party-Mengal and Awami National Party that had brought the no-confidence motion, adjourning hearing of the petition till March 21.
The Supreme Court said the SCBA had approached the court to seek assurance that the rights of parliamentarians are exercised in accordance with the Constitution and the law, adding that the government had assured the court of carrying out proceedings of the no-trust motion according to the law. “The Attorney General for Pakistan has assured us of the Federal Government’s commitment to the process under Article 95 of the Constitution to be followed strictly in accordance with law,” reads the order.
The Supreme Court said the attorney general expressed his regret on behalf of the Federal Government about the incident and affirmed the government’s resolve for the law to take its course with respect to the offences that were committed during the said incident. The Supreme Court also directed the Islamabad Inspector General of Police to submit a report about the storming of the Sindh House.
The Attorney General informed the Supreme Court that the federal government was filing a reference under Article 186 (relating to advisory jurisdiction) of the Constitution seeking delineation of the scope and meaning of certain provisions contained in Article 63A of the Constitution. The AG told the court that the reference likely to filed on March 21.
The AG said cases against protesters over storming of the Sindh House, adding that 13 people arrested were arrested but later freed on bail.
The prime minister, the federation of Pakistan, the interior and the defence secretaries, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, National Assembly secretary, Islamabad chief commissioner, Islamabad deputy commissioner and Islamabad police chief have been made respondents in the SCBA petition. According to the petition, circumstances involving confrontation between the government and the opposition could trigger an “anarchic situation” in the country.