Historic judicial proceedings to dominate Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: Monday will herald as the first day in the upcoming week that would set course for a number of historic judicial proceedings in the Supreme Court.After 2009, a Full Court is constituted comprising the Chief Justice and all sixteen Judges that will resume from Monday hearing of Federation’s plea seeking review of certain aspects of a verdict over National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) 2007.A Full Court in its detailed judgment in December, 2009, had declared the NRO as invalid and unconstitutional piece of legislation that never existed.On April 13, the apex Court bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani will deal with one of the decision frequently termed by a large section of political stalwarts, jurists and civil society members as “judicial murder” of country’s first democratically elected Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.The country’s top Court is set to give its opinion on a presidential reference for revisiting the death sentence passed against ZAB in 1979.

The Reference was sent to the Supreme Court by President Asif Ali Zardari under Article 186 of the Constitution.In past, the apex Court had given its opinion over presidential references,the most significant one was on August 4, 2005, when a nine-member bench declared several clauses of Hasba Bill relating to powers of anti-vice ombudsman asunconstitutional.In January 2007, a five-member bench was constituted on a revised reference moved by the then president Pervez Musharraf against Hasba Bill passed by the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2006 where the Mutthida Majlis-i-Amal, a conglomerate of religious parties, was in majority.On Monday, a four-Judge larger bench comprising Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S. Khawja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez will resume hearing of Federation’s review appeal against its decision on the issue of extension of services to six additional judges of the Lahore High Court and Sindh High Court.

The newly adopted process for appointment of judges of superior judiciary as envisaged under the 18th and 19th Amendments especially to role of a parliamentary committee was partly challenged and the bench had overruled Committee’s refusal to endorse Judicial Commission’s recommendations.A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on the same day will resume hearing of a constitutional petition regarding protection of lives and property of the people of Balochistan moved by president Balochistan High Court.The bench will also hear a suo motu case regarding devolution of the Higher Education Commission. The pleas were filed by professor GA Miana and proferssor Atta ur Rehman.On Tuesday, the same bench will take up the pending issue of conversion of public land into residential or commercial purpose at Karachi. The plea was moved by former city Nazim Naimatullah Khan.On April 13, the same bench will conduct proceedings on a suo motu case regarding corruption in Pakistan Steel Mills. While the issue of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) containers scam will also came up for hearing on the same day.

Another three-Judge bench headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court, will take up one of the important issue being heard by the superior judiciary regarding missing persons’ cases.Two-member bench of Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Tariq Parvez would hear two separate election matters including Khawja Saad Rafique vs Humayun Akhtar Khan and others and Amir Yar vs Muhammad Jameel and others on the same day.On April 14, the three-Judge bench headed by the Chief Justice would take up another suo motu case regarding violation of public procurement Rules 2004 resulting in loss of billion of rupees to the national exchequer by the National Insurance Company.The bench will also take up clubbed appeal of Chuadhry Shujaat Hussain,leader of PML-Q against Zafar Ahmed Qureshi, additional director general FIA, for recording a statement against PML-Q leaders from whom he claimed having received death threats.Another significant issue pertaining to recovery of finances under Section 15 of the Financial Institutions Ordinance 2001 is also fixed before the same bench. – APP