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Saturday, July 13, 2024  
06 Muharram 1446  

Will the new court bill benefit Nawaz Sharif in the disqualification judgement?

Amendment by Mohsin Dawar makes the bill retrospective in scope
File photo.
File photo.

A new law being enacted to limit the chief justice’s powers took on a new meaning after an amendment was passed making the bill retrospective in scope.

The amendment was originally presented by Mohsin Dawar in the standing committee where Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had opposed it. However, in Wednesday’s session, PM Shehbaz Sharif managed to bring Bilawal around and the amendment was made part of the bill that the National Assembly passed during the session.

After it wins passage in the Upper House and the president grants assent to it, it will become the law.

The amendment presented by Dawar proposed that clause 5 of the bill be amended to say the following:

“The right of appeal under sub-section (1) will also be available to an aggrieved person against whom an order has been made under clause (3) of Article 184 of the constitution prior to commencement of this act: provided that the appeal under this sub-section shall be filed within 30 days of the commencement of this act.”

Naturally, this opens the door for every judgment on suo motu notices ever to be challenged. And since the bill specifies a 30-day time period, and has already passed through the assembly on the way to the Senate, the next few days should see some action.

At least, that’s what Fawad Chaudhry is thinking.

In a tweet posted soon after the bill passed through the assembly, Fawad said that the amendment had been passed ‘secretly’.

“They have once again proved how big of a fraud they are,” he said adding that it was aimed at overturning Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification.

“Nawaz Sharif should come back and face trial, instead of using a backdoor.”

How Nawaz Sharif benefits from the law

The PMLN supremo was disqualified from holding public office for life in 2017 when a three-member Supreme Court bench formed under Article 184(3) ruled that he had been dishonest to the Parliament about his assets because he failed to disclose a salary he was entitled to receive from his son even if he did not receive it.

The judges were drawn from a five-member larger bench that originally heard the Panama case against Sharifs.

Sharif sought a review of the judgment in 2017 but in vain. The judgments under Article 184(3) — which allows the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice — cannot be challenged and the only recourse available to an aggrieved party is to seek a review, which essentially means you ask the same judges to rethink their decision.

The new law will allow complainants to challenge the judgments under Article 184(3).

Since the law will apply to old cases as well, Fawad believes it will benefit Nawaz Sharif.

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Supreme Court

National Assembly

Mohsin Dawar