ISLAMABAD - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday filed an appeal in the apex court against the Supreme Court registrar office for rejecting his petition seeking to club all references against him in the accountability court.

On October 13, Sharif had filed the constitutional petition under Article 184(3) of Constitution in the apex court through Khawaja Haris, making the Federation through the Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice, the NAB chairman, the accountability court, Hassan, Hussain, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar as respondents.

The petitioner had requested the court to declare July 28, 2017, judgment in Panama Papers case, wherein NAB was directed to file three references against the former PM, per incurium, for being repugnant to Article 4,9,10-A, 13 and 25 of the Constitution.

Kh Haris had contended that Sharif under section 9 (a)(v) of NAO, 1999, should be tried through a single reference, irrespective of the number of assets alleged to have been held by him on any such date that the reference was filed against him. The Supreme Court registrar office on Friday returned former premier Sharif’s petition seeking to declare multiple references against him repugnant to section 9(a)(v) of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

On October 20, the registrar office returned the former premier’s petition for not being maintainable. The order said the ex-PM has already exhausted all the legal remedies in the apex court. It had also said that Sharif has not approached any other appropriate forum available to him under the law for the same relief. He has also not provided any justification for not doing so, the registrar office.

The accountability court Islamabad on October 19 and October 20 indicted Sharif in three references – No18/2017, 19/2017.

In the appeal, Nawaz has prayed to the apex court to set aside the registrar office objection and direct the office to assogn a number to his constitutional petition and fix it for hearing before a bench of the Supreme Court.

The appeal said that the SC registrar order was misconceived and baseless. “There is no bar in the law or the Constitution that may prevent a citizen from approaching the august court by invoking Article 184(3) against any judicial pronouncement, which is per incurium,” the appeal said. It said that the apex court has unlimited jurisdiction under the constitutional provisions, and has the obligations, to intervene, at any stage and time, irrespective of the source through which such information regarding such judicial pronouncement is brought to the court notice and correct any judgment which is per incurium.

In his petition, Sharif had asked the court to declare that the multiple trials on a single charge would prejudice his fundamental rights to be dealt with in accordance with law, fair trial and protection against double punishment, guaranteed under Articles 4, 10-A and 13 of the Constitution.

Sharif had requested the court to suspend accountability court proceedings in references against him till the filing of a consolidated reference by the NAB in respect of the alleged commission of an offence under Section 9 (a)(v) of NAO, 1999. The petition had stated that the filing of multiple references against an accused for each asset allegedly owned, possessed or acquired by him, disproportionate to his known sources of income, was repugnant to section 9 (a)(v) of the NAO, 1999.

The separate trials of an accused for different properties or sets of properties alleged to be owned by him purportedly in terms of Section 9 (a)(v) of the NAO, 1999, is repugnant to Fundamental Rights, guaranteed under Articles 4 and 10-A of the Constitution.

Sharif had contended that the filing of multiple references in a case allegedly involving the acquisition of assets beyond means is unprecedented and, as such, is manifestly discriminatory and, therefore, violative of his fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution.

The separate trials for a single offence are contrary to the principles of the criminal justice and the procedure provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, the petitioner had said.

Kh Haris stated that the review petitions filed by his client before the apex court had not specifically taken the ground that three separate references cannot be filed against the ex-PM, as the contents of the references were not in the knowledge of him.

He said as the copies of the references have been provided to the petitioner, it has become crystal clear that the composite allegations against the petitioner in all three references actually tantamount to allegation of commission of one offence, therefore, filing of the three separate references and three separate trials for allegation of commission of one offence will be in gross violation of section 9 (a)(v) of the NAO, 1999 and other provisions of the Constitution.