LAHORE: The National Assembly has filed an intra court appeal (ICA) in the Lahore High Court challenging a single bench order against the acceptance of the resignations of 72 PTI MNAs from Punjab.

Filed by NA Secretary Tahir Hussain, the appeal pleads that the impugned judgement passed by the single bench on May 19 is illegal, without jurisdiction, arbitrary and liable to be set aside.

It argues that the single judge decided the questions of factual controversy without deciding the preliminary objections regarding the maintainability of the petitions by the lawmakers. It says the single judge erred in issuing the judgement on the basis of misreading and non-reading of the facts as well as the law on the subject matter.

The intra court appeal mentions that the appellant was not given a fair opportunity of hearing by the single judge and even due process was not followed in passing the impugned judgement.

The appeal states that resignations once forwarded to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by the NA speaker after satisfying the same were genuine and voluntary, no court can go behind the satisfaction of the speaker unless the ECP for some valid reasons refuse to de-notify those lawmakers.

It says the findings of the single judge that the resignations of the respondent lawmakers could be withdrawn is without any legal basis and unconstitutional.

The appeal contends that the remarks made by the single judge throughout proceedings and the facts forming background of the case suggest that the judge was seemingly predisposed and the appellant was well aware of this fact since he had serious apprehensions about the outcome of the case.

The NA secretary requests the court to set aside the judgement passed by the single bench and maintain a status quo till a final decision on the appeal. The appeal is likely to be taken up by a division bench during the next week.

Justice Shahid Karim had allowed the petitions of the PTI MNAs and ordered that two opportunities shall be granted by the National Assembly speaker to them for the verification of their resignations.

The PTI lawmakers in their petition argued they resigned en masse on party’s directions only to force the government to hold fresh elections. But mass resignations could not be accepted and each MNA had to submit a handwritten resignation, they added.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2023

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