Islamabad - The Supreme Court Thursday decided to constitute a larger bench to examine power of Sessions Judge under Section 22A CrPC for ordering an SHO to register FIR on the application of a complainant.

 A sub-section (6) was incorporated in section 22A of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898, through Code of Criminal Procedure (Third Amendment) Ordinance 2002. The amendment authorises a Sessions Judge acting as justice of peace to order registration of cases on complaints.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk resumed the hearing of Younis Abbas application, a resident of Chakwal, who had filed a petition in the court regarding the power of justice and peace under section 22A.

The chief justice remarked that a three-member bench in March 2014 had declared it administrative power while in another case the amicus curea (friend of court) had termed it the judicial authority. Therefore, a larger bench should be formed to determine the matter.

Khawaja Haris, amicus curea, stated that the issue of 22A in Code of Criminal Procedure is of judicial nature and this power given to Sessions Judge under the CrPc section is quasi-judicial power. The High Court judge also has the same power under Article 199 of the Constitution, adding the Justice of Peace is not under the executive but the High Court. He contended that this power is ultra vires to Article 175 of the Constitution.

Sheikh Zamir argued that in the Police Order this power is available to the Supreme Police and District Nazim to direct the SHO of the police station to register FIR on the application of a complainant. He said the power of Justice of Peace could not be declared judicial or semi-judicial.

Justice Gulzar questioned that if the SHO refuses to register FIR on the application of the complainant then where he should go. Sheikh Zamir said that the forum of High Court was available for the purpose. The bench said that they would determine that power of Justice of Peace did not clash with the Article 175 of the Constitution.

The court is also examining that under section 22-A (6) of CrPC, whether the powers of justice of peace are judicial or administrative and whether this authority, given to any judicial officer, is interference in the affairs of administration (police) or not.