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Health

AFP
October 1, 2010

SC reserves judgment in 18th Amendment case

Health

AFP
Fri, Oct 01, 2010
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday reserved its judgment on a set of constitutional petitions, challenging certain provisions of the 18th Amendment after counsel for the petitioners concluded their arguments.
The 17-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, reserved the judgment, saying the verdict in the case would be announced in due course of time.
Around 16 petitioners, including the Supreme Court Bar Association, Lahore High Court Bar Association, Rawalpindi District Bar Association, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Nadeem Ahmed advocate and Barrister Zafrullah Khan had challenged the 18th Amendment to the extent of Article 175-A in the Constitution, praying the apex court to declare it ultra vires of the Constitution.
Rashid A Rizvi, counsel for the Sindh High Court, and Abdul Hafeez Pirzada completed their arguments. During the course of the hearing, the judges in their remarks said that it is up to parliament to amend the Constitution and set any amendment right.
Rashid A Rizvi argued that judiciary in Britain had no power regarding judicial review prior to 1998; accordingly, parliament of the country was said to be supreme. He further contended that the attorney general and the law minister should be expelled from the committee and commission meant for appointment of the judges.
At this, Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said this was the procedure not to save the amendment but to butcher it. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed that the court cannot say who to be expelled and who to be included as this is the job of parliament to “re-engineer” the issue.
He further remarked the court could not barge into the limits of Parliament as Parliament is there to set right the constitutional amendment.
Justice Saqib Nisar observed it is the Constitution that empowers parliament to effect constitutional amendments. Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said the commission for the appointment of judges

was made in Britain in isolation from the Executive, but in Pakistan, the same commission was being instituted at the heart of Executive.
Arguing before the court, senior lawyer and the petitioner Abdul Hafeez Pirzada said that the court had the constitutional jurisdiction to strike down amendments made in the basic structure of the Constitution.
He submitted that this court had ruled in Syed Zafar Ali Shah case that even in time of emergency, fundamental rights cannot be suspended. He further contended that Article 175- A was against the independence of judiciary.
Abdul Hafeez Pirzada further contended that there were no seats for women in the assemblies but nominations while in the process of judges appointment, the consultation process between the chief justice and the president had been destroyed.
Meanwhile, after the learned counsel for the petitioners completed their arguments, the court reserved the judgment in the case and announced that verdict in the case would be announced in due course of time.
Other members of the bench are Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Nasirul Mulk, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Rehmat Hussain Jafferi, Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday.