SC gears up for ‘action’ next week

ISLAMABAD – After the calm brought to the troubled waters of the federation by SC’s flexible order in Establishment Secretary Sohail Ahmad’s matter, some quick fixes by the judiciary perceptibly in anticipation of a legislative onslaught by the government raised alarm bells. While cancelling the benches in the Lahore and Karachi Registry Branches on Friday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry constituted six benches in the Principle Seat, Islamabad and directed all the judges to remain in federal capital during the next week. A special bench under the CJP has also been constituted to hear the Haj corruption case.

According to the cause list issued by the Supreme Court earlier in the day, there was one bench in Lahore and one in Karachi. Later the cause list was changed and the benches in Lahore and Karachi were cancelled. The six benches have been constituted to hear the cases after two weeks, during the period from January 3 to 7. The sources said this has been done in view of the Parliament session, commencing from Monday (August 1). They said that the government is planning to bring in some legalisation to curb judiciary’s powers. The chief justice might be anticipating some such move by the government and he has therefore taken this step and asked all the judges to be present in Islamabad next week.

A 3-member bench led by CJP would hear the cases including breach in embankment during the floods, casualties in car race and sale and purchase of shares of British petroleum. A larger bench of SC led by Justice Mehmood Akhtar Siddiqui will take up PCO judges’ contempt of court case for hearing. The other cases are Mukhtara Mai, privatisation of HBL, fake police encounters, constitutional petitions against NAB ordinance and 11 missing prisoners case.

As for the composition of the six benches, the first bench includes the CJ himself, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani. The second bench comprises Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed and Justice Anwer Zaheer Jamali. The third bench includes Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui and Justice Amir Hani Muslim. The fourth bench includes Justice Nasirul Mulk and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, the fifth Shariat appellate bench (to sit till 11am) comprises Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Dr Fida Muhammad Khan and Justice Dr Muhammad al Ghazali and the sixth bench (to sit after the fifth bench) comprises Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa. – Nation