ISLAMABAD: Attorney General Irfan Qadir contended before the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the Prime Minister was not answerable to any court for the performance of his functions.
He said: “The Court could not issue direction to the PM in matters which fall in the domain of his functions in view of clear cut provisions or clear cut words of Article 248 (1). As the PM is not answerable to any court in the exercise of his functions, the court’s issuance of any direction become meaningless.”
The Attorney General was arguing before a special bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmani, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Athar Saeed over a review moved by the Federation seeking review of the court’s interim order of July 12 in the NRO implementation case.
The SC’s July 12 order asks the prime minister to write to Swiss authorities for reopening graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Pleading the court to revisit its judgement in NRO case, the AG cited Chief Justice’s restoration and Tikka Iqbal’s cases which were revisited by it.
“Neither the Court can interfere into the domain of chief executive of the country nor issue any direction as the constitution has given him discretion and protection for his actions,” he added.
Justice Khosa questioned him to suggest any solution as the NRO decision had attained finality and the review plea also stood dismissed.
In response, the AG suggested that the court could revisit it to get out of the stalemate and that no further embarrassment was caused to anyone as it was neither an issue of ego for the government nor for the court.
The bench disagreed with his arguments and remarked that such constitutional provision did not make anyone above the law.
Qadir also pleaded to the court for the formation of a larger bench to hear the appeal, however, the apex court rejected the request.
He moreover said that the bench that issues the order should be the one reviewing it, adding that, the court should wait until all five judges become available.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked that “all four judges who had announced the July 12 order are present in the court.”
Qadir moreover requested the court to adjourn the hearing until after Eidul Fitr.
The prime minister is above the judiciary, Qadir said, adding that the premier could interpret the Constitution. He said that the judiciary could not interfere in the domain of the executive.
The attorney general said that indicting the former prime minister was the judiciary’s mistake, adding that, the courts could neither make the prime minister party to the case nor give directions to the premier.
Qadir said that the constitution did not give immunity to the prime minister but provided protection to the executive post.
Justice Usmani remarked that the Constitution demanded that the prime minister obey the court’s orders.
The attorney general said that it was not a matter of anyone’s ego and that implementation on Article 248-(1) was necessary for the rule of law and for supremacy of the constitution.
The attorney general said that the government was confused whether to implement the verdict of the seven-member bench or that of the 17-member bench.
Justice Khosa remarked that the government should accept the decision of either of the bench.
The attorney general said that the government would accept the verdict of 17-member bench.
Justice Khosa asked as to how much more time the government needed to implement the NRO verdict despite the fact that three years had already passed.
Qadir said that the apex court should not give rulings which it could not directly implement. To which, Justice Khosa replied that the courts could give their verdicts but did not have the power to execute them.
The case was subsequently adjourned until Thursday.
The appeal against the apex court’s order was filed by the attorney general on behalf of the government last week.
The appeal, filed on Wednesday Aug 8, requested the court to review its order in which Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had been directed to submit an implementation report with respect to writing the contentious letter to Swiss authorities.
It was filed in the backdrop of the issuing of a show-cause notice for contempt of court to Prime Minister Ashraf over his failure to implement the court’s directive of writing the letter.