ISLAMABAD (Jehanzeb Abbasi, APP) The Supreme Court declared Chairman PTI’s request against the NAB amendments as admissible and nullified most of the amendments made in the NAB law. Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial delivered the judgment in the case on King’s Day Friday, the last minute before his retirement. The three-member bench of the Supreme Court hearing the petitions against the NAB amendments consisted of Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah. The Supreme Court declared in the decision that the petition against the NAB amendments is admissible.
The amended clause to exclude the reference from the jurisdiction of NAB up to crores of rupees is nullified, however, the clause to file a reference against the Service of Pakistan is nullified. All cases closed for falling short of the Rs 50 crore threshold are reinstated. The court said in the decision that the cases of all the people sitting in public positions are restored. The NAB amendments related to the termination of references to public positions are declared null and void. The court declared null and void the first amendment of section 10 and section 14 of the NAB amendments.
The Supreme Court restored all the cases that ended when the amount was less than 50 crore rupees. The court directed that all cases should be rescheduled in NAB courts and accountability courts. The Supreme Court ordered NAB to send all the records to the concerned courts within seven days. The Supreme Court further said in the judgment that the NAB amendments made regarding the plea bargain are null and void and the orders given by the accountability courts in the light of the NAB amendments are also null and void.
In its decision, the court said that the rights listed in the constitution of public interest have been affected by the NAB amendments. The court declared that Parliament’s effort to remove loopholes from the NAB Act is commendable, the amendments are a good effort to the extent of preventing unnecessary harassment by the bureaucracy. A large number of pro-PTI lawyers were present when the Chief Justice issued a detailed 58-page judgment in Courtroom No.1. In the majority decision, the Supreme Court declared that eliminating judicial authority in a plea bargain is against the independence of the judiciary and Article (3) 175 of the Constitution.
Criminals and plea bargainers have been declared ineligible for public office in the NAB law. Giving a discount to plea bargain accused is against section 15 of NAB law itself. Most of the accused of corruption have assets abroad, and documents from abroad can be used as evidence. The criteria for the admissibility of foreign evidence are already quite strict in the law of evidence, declaring foreign evidence inadmissible from the beginning is a violation of fundamental rights.
If assets over income are not accounted for, the people’s money that is subject to corruption will not be withdrawn, which will seriously affect their fundamental rights. Criminals and plea bargainers have been declared ineligible for public office in the law, and public representatives have been exempted from accountability by the amendments, making the limit of corruption up to 50 crores equivalent to granting amnesty to public representatives, this option is only available to the court or punishment.
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