The Supreme Court rules out Hamza Shehbaz as CM Punjab, and Pervez Elahi is now new CM Punjab. “We find that the understanding and implementation of the said short judgment as well as the provisions of Article 63A(1)(b) of the Constitution by the Deputy Speaker, Provincial Assembly of Punjab, Lahore (Respondent No.1) was patently incorrect and erroneous and cannot be sustained,” verdict said. It added, “As a result, the Ruling dated 22.07.2022 issued by Respondent No.1, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Assembly is set aside and declared to be void, without lawful authority, and of no legal effect. The top court also declared appointments made by Hamza Shahbaz and the oath administered to the Punjab cabinet “null and void”. https://dailytimes.com.pk/assets/uploads/2022/07/26/const.p._-22_2022_26072022.pdf The proceedings were carried out for three days — Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday — as lawyers from all the parties presented their arguments. In spite of the ruling coalition partners’ boycott of the court proceedings, the Supreme Court on Tuesday resumed hearing on Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi’s petition regarding the election of the chief minister. The petition filed by the opposition parties challenging the decision of Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari regarding the election of the chief minister was being heard by a three-member bench presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial and made up of Justices Ejaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Muneeb Akhtar. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the government’s petition for the formation of a full court bench to hear the case of the Punjab chief minister’s election. Justice Ata Bandial stated at the start of the hearing on Tuesday that the bench wanted to resolve the case as soon as possible to put an end to the province’s governance crisis. Today’s SC proceeding Irfan Qadir, lawyer for the PPP, and the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly both declared that their clients had instructed them to boycott the court proceedings. Farooq H. Naek, the PPP’s legal representative, declined to take part in the court proceedings. He, along with Irfan Qadir, the lawyer for Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari, stayed in the courtroom and watched the proceedings. Reiterating that the lawyers of the defendants had failed to satisfy the Supreme Court (SC) as to why the full-court bench should be formed to hear the petition filed jointly by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) against the ruling given by the Punjab Assembly deputy speaker in the chief minister election case, Justice Ata Bandial observed that it was the parliamentary party that gave direction to the MPAs to vote while the party head could take action in the event of a violation of that direction. The CJP added that the apex court had already decided that there was no need to constitute the full-court bench since no legal reason had been given for that. “It is clearly laid down in the constitution that it is the parliamentary party that has to give instructions to the MPAs,” he said, adding that the formation of a full-court bench amounted to dragging the case on since the required number of judges were not available for the purpose until the second week of September. CJP Bandial went on to add that he and fellow judges had made this clear to lawyers of the respondents that the constitution did not allow obstructions in governance. The CJP added that some lawyers had cited the 21st Amendment case in their justifications. “In that case, an observation was made that a party head could give instructions to the lawmakers as to which candidate they should vote for,” he said. He added that in cases involving the interpretation of Article 63-A, it was obvious that the parliamentary party had the final say and the MPs were required to follow its instructions. “In his remark, in that case, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had said that the MPs should listen to their party head before casting their votes,” Justice Bandial recalled, adding, “But that was the opinion given by eight out of 17 judges.” The question here was, he added, whether the SC was bound to follow the opinion of these eight judges, which was not of the majority of judges on the full-bench. Attorney Ali Zafar, who represents Punjab Assembly Speaker and is running for chief minister against Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, claimed that Justice Jawad Khawaja had ruled against Article 63-A in the 21st Amendment case because he believed it prevented lawmakers from casting their votes for the candidate of their choice. “However, I don’t agree with his viewpoint,” the barrister said. Justice Munib remarked that empowering the parliamentary party is tantamount to strengthening democracy. Referring to Article 63-A of the Constitution, the apex court judge said it is necessary to give powers to the parliamentary party. At this point, the additional attorney general stated that in accordance with a Supreme Court decision from 2015, the party leader can issue instructions, and until the top court reviews its decision, the party’s lawmakers are obligated to follow those instructions. The judge remarked that the deputy speaker should have written if the verdict in the 21st amendment was in his mind. At this, the chief justice thanked all the lawyers and said that the SC wanted to strengthen the constitution. Re-election of CM Punjab During the election on Friday, Mazari rejected all 10 votes cast by the PML-Q on the pretext that they had violated the orders of their party chief, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, citing a letter he received from the patriarch which said he was asking his party lawmakers to back Hamza. Elahi received 186 votes, while Hamza received 179, according to the deputy speaker’s announcement following the tallying of the ballots. However, he refrained from declaring Elahi the chief minister. Instead, he suggested that Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s orders to PML-Q members to vote for Hamza rather than Elahi held more weight in his capacity as party leader. As a result of the 10 votes being taken away, Elahi’s total dropped to 176, while Hamza’s total remained in the lead at 179, the deputy speaker then declared that Hamza had won the election for chief minister. Pervez Elahi’s plea Elahi had asked the court to declare the deputy speaker’s decision that resulted in Hamza’s reelection as “bogus and false” in his petition. “Hamza Shehbaz may kindly be declared disqualified as the Punjab chief minister/ member of the provincial assembly,” the petition read. It asked the court to deem “unconstitutional” the deputy speaker’s choice to ignore the votes of 10 PML-Q lawmakers in accordance with Article 63-A of the Constitution.