Govt challenges SC’s military courts verdict

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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Defence on Friday filed an intra-court appeal in the Supreme Court against a five-member bench that had declared the trial of civilians in military courts illegal, reported Geo News on Friday.

In the petition, the ministry has appealed to the apex court to revoke the October 23 decision and restore the sections of the Official Secrets Act that were declared illegal. It also urges the Supreme Court to restore Section 59(4) of the Army Act.

The petition has also warned that declaring some sections of the Army Act and Official Secrets Act illegal would harm the country. 

The defence ministry’s plea comes a day after the caretaker Sindh government and Shuhada Forum, Balochistan, separately requested the Supreme Court to set aside its judgment declaring unconstitutional the trials of civilians in military courts.

The Sindh chief secretary filed an appeal under Section 5 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 read with Article 184(3) of the Constitution against the order passed by the apex court in the petitions, challenging the trial of civilians in military courts.

The caretaker provincial government prayed the apex court to allow its appeal against the October 23 short order.

It further prayed the court to suspend the operation of the short order till the appeal is pending.

On October 23, a five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsen and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ayesha A Malik had declared trial of civilians in the military courts as unconstitutional and held that 103 persons and others who may be placed in relation to the events arising from May 9 and 10 could be tried by criminal courts established under the ordinary or special law of the land.

Separately, Nawabzada Jamal Raisani, Shuhada Forum, Balochsitan, patron-in-chief, and legal heirs of Shuhada filed an Intra Court Appeal (ICA) under Section 5 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 against the judgment delivered on October 23. 

They have prayed the apex court to set aside and reverse the judgment and order of the court passed by the five-member larger bench.

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