The Supreme Court has not formed a five-member bench to hear former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s review petitions as he had challenged the apex court’s verdict in a three member implementation bench and not the judgment of the five member larger bench.
This was stated by senior Advocate-on-Record of the apex court Akhtar Ali Chaudhry while talking to Business Recorder on Saturday.
On 20th April, two of the five-member larger bench judges in the Panama Papers Case – Justice Sardar Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed – gave a dissenting note, disqualifying Nawaz Sharif.
Three judges – Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh and Justice Ijazul Ahsan – directed that a six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the matter be established; and, subsequently, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar formed an implementation bench comprising of these three judges who oversaw the investigation in the Panama Papers case.
Once the investigation was over, the larger bench resumed the hearing of the Panama Papers case on July 28 and announced their verdict disqualifying Nawaz Sharif and referred the matter to National Accountability Bureau for filing references against the Sharif family within six weeks. Akhtar Ali Chaudhry said that Nawaz Sharif has urged the court to set aside the ruling of the three-member bench which declared him disqualified on grounds of the Joint Investigation Team’s findings in the Panama Papers case.
Order XXVI Rule 8 of the Pakistan Supreme Court Rules 1980 stipulates that that application for review in a matter shall be posted before the same bench that delivered the judgement or order sought to be reviewed. Akhtar Ali Chaudhry said that if the three-member bench of Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan deems it appropriate it may refer the matter to Chief Justice of Pakistan to form a five-member larger bench to hear the review pleas of Nawaz Sharif.