Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has taken notice of the current situation in the country following the dismissal of a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan by National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri and the subsequent dissolution of the assembly by President Arif Alvi, the spokesperson of the apex court said on Sunday.
The weeks-long political turmoil in the country reached its climax today as the NA deputy speaker prorogued a much-awaited sitting of the lower house of parliament without allowing voting on a no-trust motion against PM Imran.
Chief Justice Bandial arrived at the apex court, which was especially opened on a Sunday in light of the day’s unusual turn of events.
The leaders of the joint opposition as well as PTI’s ministers also arrived at the Supreme Court. The opposition has dismissed the ruling party’s actions as unconstitutional.
The petition filed by the opposition maintained that it is “most respectfully prayed that the act of the Deputy Speaker by proroguing the Session of Parliament on the vote of No Confidence Motion may be held to be in violation of fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan and against Article 66, 95, 17(2) and other enabling provisions and this act and all consequences thereafter may be set aside by declaring the same illegal, ultra vires to the Constitution and consequently the Speaker/Deputy Speaker National Assembly may be directed to conduct the vote count on No Confidence Motion of the members present in the National Assembly on the floor of the house and declared the result of the No Confidence Motion.
“It is further prayed that the respondents may be directed not to interfere with the vote count and smooth voting on the resolution of No Confidence of the Prime Minister as per the Agenda today.
SCBA: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) also filed a constitutional petition with the Supreme Court in light of today’s events.
The lawyers’ association prayed in its petition that the SC declares the “impugned order of dissolution of the National Assembly issued under Article 58(1) of the Constitution is without lawful authority and of no legal effect.”
It urged the apex court to declare that the speaker could not give a ruling after the resolution for the vote of no-confidence was moved on March 28.
“Declare that all acts of the Respondents dated 03-04-2022 and all acts, directions, instructions, orders etc. taken by the Respondents or any other state functionaries in pursuance of the impugned order of dissolution of the National Assembly are without lawful authority and of no legal effect,” the SCBA’s petition further maintained.
The resolution of no-confidence was sought to be declared still pending before the National Assembly and voting on it held immediately.
“Restrain all state functionaries from acting in pursuance of the illegal and unlawful orders, actions, instructions of the Respondents dated 03-04-2022, during the pendency of the titled Petition,” the SCBA further prayed.
“It is also prayed that the Respondents and other delinquent persons involved in abrogating and subverting the Constitution may also very graciously be tried with and dealt strictly with in accordance with the law.
“Any other direction or relief which this Honorable Court deems fit and proper in the vindication of grievance aforesaid.”
All you need to know about CJ ahead of suo moto hearing on NA dissolution
Born in Lahore on Sept 17, 1958, Justice Bandial received elementary and secondary education from different schools in Kohat, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Lahore. He secured a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University, followed by a Law Tripos degree from Cambridge and qualified as a barrister-at-law from the prestigious Lincoln’s Inn in London.
In 1983, he was enrolled as an advocate of the Lahore High Court (LHC) and a few years later, as an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
In his law practice at Lahore, Justice Bandial dealt mostly with commercial, banking, tax and property matters. Justice Bandial also handled international commercial disputes after 1993, right up until his elevation.
Justice Bandial also appeared in arbitration matters before the Supreme Court and various international arbitral tribunals in London and Paris.
Justice Bandial was elevated as a judge of the LHC on Dec 4, 2004. He was one of the judges who declined to retake their oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) of Nov 2007, when Gen Pervez Musharraf proclaimed a state of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.
However, he was restored as a judge as a result of a lawyers’ movement for the revival of the judiciary.
Justice Bandial then served as chief justice of the LHC for two years until his elevation as a judge of the apex court in June 2014.
During his career in the superior judiciary, Justice Bandial has rendered a number of important judgements on issues of public and private law. These include pronouncements on civil and commercial disputes, constitutional rights and public interest matters.
Justice Bandial also taught contract law and torts law at the Punjab University Law College, Lahore until 1987 and remained a member of its graduate studies committee while serving as the LHC judge.