ISLAMABAD   -  The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that no extraordinary circumstances or hardship has been referred by the Islamabad High Court while suspending the sentence of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

A five-judge larger bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had on January 14 through a short order dismissed the NAB appeal, wherein the accountability watchdog challenged the IHC verdict regarding suspension of the Sharif family’s sentences in the Avenfield reference.

The detailed judgment comprising 5 pages and authored by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, the chief justice designate, observed that a Larger Bench of this court has clarified in the case of Tallat Ishaq v. NAB, decided on October 1 of 2018, that in case under National Accountability Ordinance 1999 bail may be granted through exercise of Constitutional jurisdiction of a High Court only in extraordinary circumstances and in cases of extreme hardship.

“But in the present cases no such extraordinary circumstances or hardship had been referred to by the High Court in the impugn judgments passed by it,” the top court observed.

It is further observed that the no allegation has been levelled before the top court, which heard NAB appeals, regarding any misuse or abuse of the concession of bail by deposed Sharif and Maryam Nawaz to these appeals.

It further stated that Sharif is already in jail in on account of conviction in another case and law envisages concession for Maryam Nawaz for being woman.

“One of the said respondents (Sharif) is already in jail after having been convicted and sentenced in connection with another criminal case another of the said respondents (Maryam) is a woman and the law envisages concession for her in the matter of bail and sentence of imprisonment passed by trial court against yet another of the said respondents (Muhammad Safdar) was quite short,” the judgment stated.

“In these peculiar circumstances we have not felt persuaded to interfere with the jurisdiction and discretion exercised by the High Court in the matter of the said respondents’ bail upon suspension of their sentences during the pendency of their appeals,” the top court further stated.

It is observed that instead of adhering to the guidelines issued and recommendations made by Supreme Court in an earlier judgment of 2014 regarding shorter format of orders to be passed in the matters of bail, the IHC had written a judgment spanning over 41 pages while deciding the matter of bail of Deposed Nawaz Sharif and his daughter.

“It is settled law that while deciding an application for bail or suspension of sentence during the pendency of an appeal merits of the case are not adverted to or commented upon in detail whereas impugn judgments passed by it the High Court had not only undertaken a detailed assessment of the merits of the case but had also recorded some categorical conclusions regarding the same.”

“The reason for suspension of sentence during the pendency of an appeal is that due to the peculiarities of his case the convict may not be kept in custody till his appeal is fixed for hearing but in these cases the writ petitions filed by respondents had been taken up for hearing and decision at a time when the main appeals were also fixed for hearing.”