ISLAMABAD: As a larger bench of the Supreme Court resumes on Wednesday (today) the hearing of an appeal against the bail granted to undertrial prisoners (UTPs) in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, a lawyer on Tuesday approached the apex court, highlighting his loss if not heard urgently in the matter.
In a one-page application moved before the SC, Advocate Ajmal Raza Bhatti pleaded to become a party in the case, expressing his desire to assist the court in the matter. The application, however, does not specify what loss will he suffer if not heard urgently by the court.
The SC larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed, had at the last hearing restrained all the high courts and respective authorities, including the provincial governments and administration of Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan, from passing any order or releasing UTPs from jails in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic till April 1.
The SC bench will take up challenge to the exercise of suo motu powers by the Islamabad High Court through its March 20 order granting bail to around 408 UTPs in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. The petition was moved by Advocate Syed Nayab Hassan Gardezi on behalf of Raja Mohammad Nadeem against the IHC order.
In the freshly instituted application, Mr Bhatti pleaded before the apex court that his valuable rights were involved in different cases which were also the subject matter of the appeal against the IHC order. He requested the SC to allow him to become a necessary party as he wanted to assist the court. In case he was not impleaded as a necessary party in the case and condemned unheard, the application argued, he would suffer irreparable loss and legal injury in the matter.
The application was moved under Order 5 Rule 2(2) read with Order 33 Rule 6 of the Supreme Court Rules 1980.
Working hours reduced
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has issued a fresh notification to announce reduction in the working hours at the principal seat of Islamabad as well as the branch registries at Quetta, Peshawar, Karachi and Lahore in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
According to the notification, the new working hours will be from 8.30am to 2pm from Monday to Thursday and on Saturdays, whereas the working hours on Friday will be from 8.30am to 12 noon.
The chief justice issued the notification under Rule 1, Order II of the Supreme Court Rules 1980 and the instructions will come into force with immediate effect. The notification will remain enforced till April 7.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2020