Nawaz again asks SC to consider joint trial

ISLAMABAD – Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has prayed to the Supreme Court to set aside the order passed by a top judge in his chamber — on his appeal against registrar office, seeking to club together three National Accountability Bureau references against him — and fix his petition before a bench for hearing.

On October 18, the former prime minister filed a petition in the apex court under Article 184(3) of Constitution against the July 28 judgment in the Panama Leaks case, under which, he had contended, per incuriam (with no due regard to the law or the facts), the National Accountability Bureau had been directed to file the three references against him.

On November 20, the registrar office returned the petition with the objections that the petitioner had already availed all the remedy against the July 28 judgment and the petition was not maintainable under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

Later, Sharif had filed an appeal against the registrar office objections stating that his petition did not form part of the grounds of attack in the review against the 28th July judgment. The ex-premier had explained that under Article 184(3), he has remedy to assail the judgment on the rule of per incuriam.

On November 16, Chief Justice  Saqib Nisar, who had heard the appeal against the registrar office objections in his chamber, dismissed his appeal and ruled that Sharif should have mentioned the grounds in the review petition.

In his constitutional petitioner filed on Saturday, Sharif said that the impugned order suffered from errors of law floating on the surface of the record and was tantamount to denying him of his fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The ex-prime minister has filed the petition under Article 184(3) of Constitution and made the Federation through the Ministry of Law and Justice, the NAB, Accountability Court, Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar as respondents.

He has contended that “the impugned order forces him to face rigour of multiple prosecutions for a single offence, which is tantamount to violation of his fundamental rights under Article 10-A of Constitution and the impugned order exposes him to triple jeopardy in contravention of his fundamental rights under Article 13”. It is also violative of the petitioner’s rights under Article 9, 14 and 25 of the Constitution, he said.

Sharif said that there was the Supreme Court’s own judgment in judges’ pension case and Naheeb Butt vs State, and “the petition under Article 184(3) is maintainable after the dismissal of the review petition and the question of law is referred to a larger bench for a decision”.

He has contended that in (Petition No-86 of 2010) the order passed on March 7, 17 by the court has already referred to the question, as to whether after the dismissal of his review petition, an aggrieved person can seek further remedy in term of Article 184(3) read with Article 187 of the Constitution for a consideration by a larger bench.

He said that since his case was identically placed, therefore, the top judge in the chamber ought to have treated his constitution petition in the same manner, following the principle of equality, due process and should have set aside the registrar order.

The petitioner said that “it is a trite law that there is no bar on the jurisdiction of the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution in respect of a judgment which is per incuriam and non-est”.

He said that this view is confirmed in the Abdul Rehman Farooq Pirzada (PLD 2013) case. In this judgment, he said, it is held that Supreme Court under 184(3) read with 187 of the Constitution has unlimited powers to revisit a judgment which is per incuriam.

The petitioner has said that “it is repeatedly held by the courts that mere technicalities cannot stand in the way of dispensation of justice”. He said the court has also held that the mere fact that a party had misplaced and misdirected itself in presenting its case would not be considered to an impediment in correcting a judgment passed by the apex court, which is per incuriam.

He said that in a case where a Supreme Court judgment is challenged on the ground of it being per incuriam, then the court has the constitutional duty and obligation to hear the matter on merit and such a petition cannot be disposed of by the judge in his chamber.

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