SC bench hearing pleas against military courts dissolved again
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On Monday, a seven-member bench hearing appeals against trials of civilians in the military courts dissolved again after Justice Mansoor Ali Shah recused himself from hearing the objections. 

As a result of objections raised by Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Sardar Tariq Masood, a seven-member bench was formed on June 22.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah’s presence was objected to by the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan at the outset of the hearing.

According to AGP, one of the applicants in the case against military courts is Justice Shah’s relative, whose conduct might be affected.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, said the bench cannot be constituted according to your “choice and will”. It is important not to defame the judiciary, remarked the CJP.

In connection with the Punjab election date case, there has been a series of objections raised to the SC hearing important cases. The CJP added that it should be left up to the honorable judge to decide whether to sit on the bench.

The case has been excused by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah. Objections prevent me from remaining on the bench.”

Controversy surrounding benches

Justice Qazi Faez said he was surprised to see his name on the cause list last night. The senior-most judge after the CJP said the SC Practices and Procedure Bill was suspended by an eight-member bench before it was enacted.

Appeals court adjourns hearings in military court trials

“I am not a member of the bench hearing the [case related to] Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Bill, so I will not comment on it,” the senior-most SC judge said.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa said his bench’s judgment of March 5 was “scrapped” through a circular released by the SC registrar.

Asked if this was the significance of an apex court decision, he replied that it was.

As he does not consider the bench to be a ‘bench,’ Justice Qazi Faez Isa cannot remain part of it. He added that he will not serve on any bench until the Supreme Court Practices and Procedure Bill has been decided.

There’s no point in sitting here anymore.”

Pleas for help

PTI Chairman Karamat Ali and former CJP Jawwad S. Khawaja filed petitions against military courts.

During his tenure as Pakistan’s chief justice, Jawwad S Khawaja challenged the military courts’ trial of civilians, arguing that the move was unconstitutional.

A bench of the CJP is formed to hear petitions against military courts

According to the petition, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Balochistan chief secretaries were respondents, as were the secretaries of law and justice, interior, and defence.

In his plea, CJP Jawwad Khawaja argued that civilians being tried by military courts in the presence of civilians was unconstitutional. In the plea, the defense argued that a court-martial was only appropriate and legal for army officers.

Plaintiffs requested that any proceedings based on the impugned sections be declared unlawful. The petition urged the court to transfer these civilians to ordinary criminal courts for appropriate proceedings before the civil authorities.

In a similar petition, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan challenged the trials of civilians in military courts in the Supreme Court.