Judge terms pleas against poll delay ‘not maintainable’

Published April 1, 2023
This photo shows Justice Yahya Afridi. — Photo courtesy: SC website
This photo shows Justice Yahya Afridi. — Photo courtesy: SC website

ISLAMABAD: Justice Yahya Afridi of the Supreme Court, who in a February short order dismissed all three proceedings related to poll delays as not maintainable for adjudication in the apex court, has explained the reasons for his stance in an additional note issued on Friday.

In the note, Justice Afridi wrote that as he had decided to declare the present three proceedings pending before the Supreme Court being premature as not maintainable, “I find my continuing to sit on the bench and hear the said petitions would not be appropriate, as any findings passed or remarks made during the hearing of the present matters by me may prejudice the contested claims of the parties in the said petitions/appeal pending before the respective High Courts.”

On Feb 27, a nine-judge bench was reduced to a five-member one to continue holding suo motu proceedings of the case as Justice Afridi and Justice Athar Minallah had left it to the discretion of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to retain them or not.

Justice Afridi recalled how intra-court appeals against the Feb 10, 2023 judgement of the single bench were pending before the Lahore High Court (LHC) relating to the announcement of polls in Punjab, while the Peshawar High Court was also hearing a petition seeking relief for appointment of a date of elections to the KP assembly.

Justice Yahya Afridi says it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to remain part of SC bench

He mentioned the pro­m­ptness with which the LHC’s single bench had pro­ceeded with the petit­ions and decided the same, and the judgement so rendered was challenged in the intra-court appeals.

However, the events which led to the current proceedings before the Sup­reme Court are starkly distinguishable. “Accor­di­n­gly, I am of the firm opinion that the principle of restraint in exercising ori­ginal jurisdiction to safeguard the right of appeal of the parties should be respected and maintained, and the three proceedings pending before the apex court should not be proceeded with at this stage, being premature and not maintainable. I am also san­guine that the High Co­u­rts would proceed exp­editiously with the pending matters,” he observed.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2023

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