February, 22, 2024
High Court Nullifies PTI Chairman's Jail Trial Notifications

High Court Nullifies PTI Chairman’s Jail Trial Notifications

Infostani Sources- The Islamabad High Court has revoked the notification for the imprisonment trial of Chairman PTI and former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the cipher case from August 29 to November 15, along with the court proceedings held in Adiala jail during that period. The division bench, comprising Justices Mian Gul Hasan, Nigzeb, and Justice Shaman Rifat Imtiaz, validated the appointment notification of Haj Abul Hasnat Zul-Qarnain on June 27 under the Official Secrets Act. Chairman PTI’s successful intra-court appeal declared the notifications on August 29, September 12, September 25, October 3, and October 13 as illegal.

The court declares all proceedings in the case after August 29 null and void. The Cabinet’s November 15 notification approving a jail trial will not have a retrospective application. The law allows for a prison trial in exceptional circumstances without the need to fulfill all requirements of an open or in-camera trial. Chief Justice Amir Farooq had earlier denied the Chairman PTI’s request against the jail trial and Hajj appointment, leading to an intra-court appeal. The Islamabad High Court Registrar informed the bench about judicial questions, stating that the trial court initiated the Hajj appointment process, and the trial court judge also informed the High Court before the jail hearing.

PTI Chairman’s Jail Trial: Legal Procedures Challenged in High Court

High Court Nullifies PTI Chairman's Jail Trial NotificationsEarlier, the division bench considered the intra-court appeal filed by the chairman of PTI against the decision of the single bench. Salman Akram Raja, his lawyer, concluded the counterarguments by stating that a jail trial follows a specific procedure. The trial court must issue a clear and reasoned judicial order. The Chief Commissioner’s request mandates approval from the Federal Cabinet. If the Cabinet approves, it is essential to inform the High Court. Even assuming the trial court judge started the process, they didn’t complete the subsequent steps. There is no Federal Cabinet approval for a jail trial in this case before November 12th.

Although the federal cabinet has granted approval, the absence of a fundamental judicial order remains noteworthy. Undertaking the action before obtaining approval from the federal cabinet makes it illegal. Even with the cabinet’s approval, the application of this jail trial modernization will not be retroactive. The court inquired whether the November 13 notification satisfies the legal requirements. In response, the lawyer stated, “I don’t believe so, as the approval of the notice lacks a judicial order.”

Legal Dispute Over Jail Trial Procedures and Judicial Orders in Cipher Case

Justice Gul Hasan commented that we had posed two questions to the Jasir-ar High Court last week. The registrar indicated that the Islamabad High Court initiated the process of appointing Hajj. Additionally, the trial court judge informed the High Court before the jail hearing. Salman Akram Raja stated that, up until now, all proceedings in the jail trial have been deemed illegal. He stressed the need to obtain a judicial order and seek cabinet approval for any upcoming jail trials. The Attorney General countered, asserting that the jail trial of Cipher is an open trial. In the past, spatial constraints in the small trial courtroom prevented the families of the accused from observing the jail trial.

A recent order from a single bench has addressed this issue. The trial court has issued a judicial order regarding the jail trial, as outlined in the Hajj order sheet. This sheet explicitly states that conducting the trial in jail constitutes a judicial order. The court will follow guidelines for an open trial. After the hearing, the court reserved its verdict, which it later delivered.

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