The Supreme Court is contemplating the formation of a larger bench to oversee military court trials.

The Supreme Court is considering the formation of a larger bench to oversee military court trials. The trial was unanimously dismissed by the bench, citing potential controversy in the event of a 2-4 verdict from the 6-member panel. Consequently, following appeals from lawyers and public institutions, urging the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to retract its appeal, a 9-member bench was convened.

However, once the cabinet has decided, appeals cannot be withdrawn. Therefore, a formal request was submitted to the Supreme Court on Thursday to delay the hearing. In Islamabad, under the oversight of Justices Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Shahid Waheed, and Samiya, a hearing commenced against 103 individuals in custody.

Their families sought bail from military courts to alleviate their detention, with their lawyers advocating for inclusion in the bench’s proceedings. Consequently, a request was made for a summary of the secured decisions, prompting Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar to raise concerns about the bench’s size discrepancy.

He asserted the families’ right to attend the hearings. In response, Justice Amin-ud-Din expressed concerns about courtroom congestion and seating arrangements for the families. However, he assured that there would be no objection upon the court’s arrival.

Subsequently, the lawyer representing Justice (R) Jawad appealed for the appointment of a larger bench. He reiterated their earlier requests for a larger bench in various petitions and urged the court to recommend to the Supreme Court committee the establishment of such a bench.

Subsequently, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government appealed the dismissal of the trial in the national courts, presenting the decisions of the provincial cabinet as evidence. The government’s legal representatives advocated for intra-court appeals.

In response, the court stated that it could not reverse the cabinet’s decision and suggested filing a formal request for retractions. Following this, individuals opposing military court trials expressed their discontent with the lawyers.

Lawyer Faisal Sadiq observed that the attorney general had submitted five appeals on behalf of government institutions, questioning the necessity of spending public funds on lawyers when Mahmood’s appeals were already filed. Lawyer Khwaja Ahmad Hussain proposed reformulating the case for consideration by a high-level committee.

He suggested referring the matter back to the corresponding committee, which had previously requested the establishment of the bench. Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar noted that if the nine-member bench had already been formed, today’s appeals hearings would not have been possible. Meanwhile, Khwaja Ahmad Hussain continued to advocate for a positive approach, highlighting that the trial was dismissed by a bench of five lower-level members. He suggested that if Sheikh had rendered a 2-4 verdict, it would have been contentious.

Maintaining judicial confidence is crucial to ensuring that decisions are not contentious and are not solely influenced by the composition of the bench. Consequently, the court requested details on how many out of the 103 individuals in custody had been acquitted. Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan requested disclosure of the number of individuals who received punishments and those who were acquitted. The attorney general responded that the file was complete, but the court refrained from making a final decision. As a result, the court issued notices to all involved parties and postponed further hearings until March 28th.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top