ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Friday said how a person in jail uniform could run the government and the court sentence given was directly linked to disqualification.
A three-member bench, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, heard the identical petitions against the National Assembly speaker’s ruling in the premier’s contempt of court case.Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry remarked that PM Gilani was only a member of the National Assembly who had not yet filed an appeal against the conviction and no sentence could be quashed without an appeal.
The Supreme Court rejected the request of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, the counsel for PM Gilani, to constitute a larger bench to hear the identical petitions. Aitzaz Ahsan argued: “If question arises regarding the disqualification of a member, the speaker has to determine it under Article 63(1) (h) that a parliamentarian has been, on conviction for any offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.”
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain questioned: “If a member of parliament is convicted for propagating against the ideology of Pakistan and he had accepted his crime, then would the speaker apply her mind?”
Aitzaz said still the speaker would apply her mind. The chief justice said if a member of parliament was convicted for less than one year and was sent to jail, adding “whether that parliamentarian would say he has not been disqualified as the punishment is less than two years”.
However, Aitzaz contended that Prime Minister Gilani could not be disqualified for facing a sentence for 30 seconds in the court. He said his client did not need to appeal against the verdict and was not asking to change it.
He said the show cause notice and the charge sheet against the premier did not mention the contempt of court. The court directed Aitzaz Ahsan to conclude his arguments by Monday and adjourned the hearing.