After all arguments were ended, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial stated that the Supreme Court will issue its decision in the presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A today at 5:30 p.m.
The reference was filed in the Supreme Court in March, following the submission of a no-trust motion by the Opposition parties against then-Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The case was heard by a five-member bench led by CJP Bandial and included of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Munib Akhtar, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail.
The PTI administration had gone the Supreme Court in an attempt to prevent its opposing legislators from voting against Imran Khan, and had sought a lifelong ban for anyone who attempted to depart from the party’s path.
What is Observed in hearing today
At the start of today’s session, PML-N lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan presented further arguments to the judge.
The court is evaluating the reference in an advisory capacity, the president may ask for an opinion on a legal concern or a matter of public interest, but the president has not submitted a reference on such matters in the past, according to newly-appointed Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali. We also need to go at the background of this situation, he said.
According to Ashtar Ausaf, it is vital to determine if Article 63-A is a full code and whether anything has to be added to the abovementioned provision of the Constitution. “It’s also important to test if the vote will be tallied by diverging from party policy.”
At this point, Justice Ijazul Ahsan stated that the president is not required to obtain a legal opinion from the attorney general before submitting a presidential referral. “Under Article 186, the president can submit a reference on a legal subject,” the court said.
The court inquired as to whether the attorney general was distancing himself from the reference. “I have not got any orders from the government, I am assisting the court in the matter,” the AGP stated.
“Are you saying the reference is inadmissible?” the judge inquired. “Are you suggesting that the reference be returned without a response?”
Justice Muneeb stated that the prior AGP believed the reference was permissible, and that as attorney general, you can now state your views.
In answer to the judge’s question, Ashtar Ausaf stated that the president should have submitted the reference after consulting with legal experts. “If there was any disagreement among the legal experts, the president might have sent the reference [for clarification].”
Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial stated during the hearing that the court has been hearing the issue for more than a month. “Don’t get hung up on the technicalities. The case has now passed the admission threshold.”