Wednesday June 07, 2023

Case against amendments in NAB law SC summons details of plea bargain amount, NAB cases

It is not the court's job to resolve the disputes created by parliament, says the CJP

By Our Correspondent
February 08, 2023
An outside view of the Supreme Courts building. — Supreme Court
An outside view of the Supreme Court's building. — Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that it would be a great injustice with the people if the court hesitates to intervene into a matter involving violation of law.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsen and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, heard the petition of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan challenging the amendments made by the incumbent coalition government in the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

Through the instant case, a red line will be drawn on the NAB law, remarked the CJP.

The court sought details of the amount recovered through plea bargains and NAB cases that were either terminated or referred to concerned forums after amendments in the NAB law.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that the matter about amendments in the NAB law and public trust in parliament was before the court.

Once, it was established that public trust was breached, the court will decide under-challenged NAB amendments, Justice Ahsen remarked.

During the course of hearing, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah asked the special prosecutor NAB about the number of cases decided after the NAB amendments and asked for submitting details pertaining to cases that were sent back to concerned forums.

“How much this impression is true that several cases were either terminated or became infructuous after the NAB amendments,” the judge asked the special prosecutor.

However, the special prosecutor rejected the impression and submitted that not a single NAB case was terminated but some cases were referred to concerned forums after the amendments. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked the special prosecutor to submit details pertaining to those cases that were decided on merit after the amendments incorporated into the NAB law. Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that the corruption cases involving amount less than Rs500 million got infructuous through the NAB amendments.

At the outset of hearing, Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial observed that it was not the job of the court to resolve the dispute created by parliament and added that parliament should resolve disputes itself.

“The NAB should tell the court about the corruption cases that went out of NAB’s ambit through the amendments in NAB law,” the CJ asked from the special prosecutor NAB.

The learned counsel for the Federation further submitted that the court should also ask the petitioner (Imran Khan) as to how many NAB cases were terminated during his reign.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked the counsel for the federal government if the court could itself interpret the basic fundamental rights.

Makhdom Ali Khan submitted that the court could intervene only when any branch of the government crosses its limits. Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial observed that since the creation of Pakistan, anti-corruption laws were in place and added that the petitioner might have some reservations over changing of real NAB law. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until today (Wednesday).