Islamabad: Supreme Court Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial has remarked during the hearing on Imran Khan’s petition that the NAB amendments have closed the door of pending cases.
During the hearing of Chairman PTI Imran Khan’s petition against the NAB amendments, the federal government’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan argued that the Supreme Court must first see whether the fundamental rights were violated by the NAB amendments or not. . Invoking Article 184 III requires determination of direct violation of fundamental rights.
Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan remarked that the Supreme Court has wider powers to look into any matter. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said, “Should the petitioner have gone to the High Court before the use of Article 184 III? Much time has passed since NAB heard the case.” So far, it has not been stated which fundamental right was affected by the NAB amendments. If the court is not satisfied on fundamental rights, the question of public interest will come much later.
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Federal government lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan said that the government cannot make any laws that are against fundamental rights. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah inquired that if Parliament abolishes NAB, can the petitioner come for its restoration?, to which the lawyer replied that if Parliament abolishes NAB, its restoration cannot be challenged. . If the court were to invalidate or restore the legislation, Parliament would become inactive.
Federal government lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan said that the Supreme Court cannot hear directly filed cases except cases of public importance. The Supreme Court cannot directly hear the case and decide on the personal grievances of a person. The constitution provides for the forum of the High Court to file a direct suit. The Constitution also provides a clear procedure for the Supreme Court to hear cases.
The Chief Justice remarked that in many cases of public importance the Supreme Court has been hearing cases directly, to which the lawyer replied that if the Supreme Court starts hearing cases directly, the constitutional right to approach the High Court will be lost.
The Chief Justice remarked that the court does not want to use the powers of the government itself. The new NAB law does not include any procedure for the future of returned cases. I don’t know where the hundreds of cases returned from the accountability courts will go?
The lawyer said that the court will send the order to where it will be issued. On which the Chief Justice remarked that why should the court issue an order? The lawyer replied that the cases will continue where they were going before NAB for 50 years.
Justice Ejaz-ul-Ahsan said that in the new NAB law every point and word has been subtly changed, why so much ambiguity was left? The Chief Justice said that it has been 8 months that NAB cases are being returned from the accountability courts and have not been sent to any other forum. The lawyer replied that legislation is the power of Parliament and cannot be interfered with for any reason. Parliament can also repeal the entire NAB Act. Pakistan continued for 50 years without NAB law.
The Chief Justice said that the right to live in the ancient society would have been fulfilled by just bread, cloth and house. To survive in today’s age, facilities including education and health are necessary. The right to live has been injured by corruption. Today, two kidnapped girls were recovered after six years because there is no system.
The Chief Justice said that the police had to resort to intelligence agencies to recover the girls. The lack of capacity in the police is actually a violation of the right to life of citizens. He has clearly said that the judiciary does not want to rule nor will it. Several hundred NAB cases are being returned from the courts. NAB amendments have closed the door of pending cases. It has been 8 months since the NAB amendments, but their regular implementation or transfer of cases could not be done.
Justice Ejaz-ul-Ahsan said that if the government has time to change the words in the NAB law, then why not make a procedure for transfer of cases? The Chief Justice remarked that what will happen if the cases referred to the accountability court are excluded from the jurisdiction of anti-corruption? The lawyer of the federal government said that even before the NAB law, corruption cases were dealt with in the country for 50 years.
A three-member special bench headed by the Chief Justice adjourned further hearing of the case till February 16 tomorrow.