Supreme Court Considers Larger Bench for Military Court Trial

Supreme Court Considers Larger Bench for Military Court Trial. The bench unanimously dismissed the trial, stating that if the 6-member bench decided on a 2-4 verdict, it would be contentious. Consequently, a 9-member bench was formed following appeals from lawyers and public institutions, urging the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to retract its appeal.

However, appeals cannot be withdrawn once the cabinet has decided. A formal request was made to the Supreme Court by Thursday for a hearing delay. In Islamabad, the Supreme Court, under Justices Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Shahid Waheed, and Samiya initiated a hearing against 103 individuals under arrest.

Their families petitioned for bail in military courts, seeking relief from incarceration. Lawyers representing the case advocate inclusion in the bench’s proceedings. Consequently, a summary was requested for the secured decisions, prompting Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar to object to the size discrepancy.

He demanded the families’ right to attend the hearings. In response, Justice Amin-ud-Din remarked on the courtroom’s congestion, questioning where they would sit. He assured there’s no objection upon the court’s arrival.

Subsequently, the lawyer for Justice (R) Jawad appealed to designate a larger bench. He also emphasized their earlier request for a larger bench in their various petitions, urging the court to submit a recommendation to the Supreme Court committee for the establishment of the bench.

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Following this, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government appealed against the trial’s dismissal in the national courts. Provincial cabinet decisions were presented in court. The government’s legal representatives argued for intra-court appeals.

Upon which, the court remarked that they couldn’t retract the cabinet’s decision. It was suggested to file a formal request for the retractions. Subsequently, litigants opposing military court trials protested against lawyers.

Lawyer Faisal Sadiq noted that the attorney general had filed five appeals on behalf of government institutions, questioning why public funds are spent on lawyers when Mahmood’s appeals are already filed. Lawyer Khwaja Ahmad Hussain suggested it’s appropriate to reformulate the case for a high-level committee.

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He proposed referring the matter back to the mirror committee, as it had previously requested to establish the bench. Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar remarked that if the nine-member bench had already been constituted, hearings on appeals wouldn’t have been possible today. While Khwaja Ahmad Hussain continued his positive argument, stating that the bench of five lower-level members decided to dismiss the trial, suggesting that if Sheikh had rendered it 2-4, it would have been controversial.

It’s essential for judicial confidence not to have contentious decisions, ensuring that the outcome isn’t influenced solely by the bench’s composition. Subsequently, the court requested details on how many individuals out of the 103 under custody had been acquitted. Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan asked to disclose how many individuals received punishments and how many were acquitted. The attorney general replied that the file had been completed, but the court refrained from making a final decision. Consequently, the court issued notices to the parties involved, postponing further hearing until March 28th.

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