SC criticises culture of blaming courts if verdict not favourable

Amid criticism of its judgements, the Supreme Court on Tuesday hit back, saying it has become a culture in Pakistan to blame the courts if the decisions announced by the judges are unfavourable.

During a hearing of the case seeking interpretation of Article 63-A, the top court remarked that the courts are praised if the decisions are favourable and grilled if the decisions turn out to be unfavourable.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel said people do know about the judgements of the court yet they blindly follow whatever their leaders say. The bench made these remarks after PPP lawyer Farook H Naik said the country was heading towards “anarchy” and nobody was willing to accept the decision of the Supreme Court.

Read: Imran asks judiciary why courts opened at midnight

About Article 63-A, Justice Ijazul Ahsan said prima facie the purpose of this article was to stop floor-crossing. “The court wants to examine if the punishment for defection is harsh enough to act as a deterrent,” he added.

“What will be the sentence for defection, this is the actual question,” he said.

Justice Mandokhel asked if defection was considered a crime then why does the vote of such a person count? “Is it a crime to vote against the party lines…what kind of crime is this that has been allowed by the Constitution,” he went to ask.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial said the court gave its recommendations in a case regarding the Senate election but nobody followed that. “Why are political parties acting as neutral on defections,” he said, adding that defectors were given offices in other parties.

Naik argued that Article 96 of 1973’s Constitution stopped defections. He added that as per the 1973 Constitution, the vote of defectors would not count. He added that a military dictator added Articles 62-63 to the Constitution.

Justice Bandial said if a member casts a vote against the party lines during the fourth year of the government then it would probably take a year for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Supreme Court to decide on the case against the said member. However, by the time reference would be decided the assemblies would have completed their term and the member would not face any consequences, such as de-seating.

The court adjourned the case till tomorrow.

Read More: Petition filed in SC to declare defection 'unconstitutional'

A day earlier, CJP Bandial observed that the recent tirade against the judiciary did not bother the judges as protecting and preserving the Constitution was their duty, adding that the court functions 24 hours in this regard.

Without naming anyone in particular, the chief justice stressed the apex court should be respected.

The CJP’s comments come a few days after Imran Khan, in his first rally after being ousted, asked the judiciary to explain the reason behind its decision to throw open its doors in the dead of night when the fate of a no-trust resolution against him hung in the balance.

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