ISLAMABAD: A Seventeen member full court headed by the Chief Justice Nasir ul Mulk of the Supreme Court upheld the 21st Constitutional Amendment with majority decision by 11 to 6.
The bench also dismissed petitions challenging the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act (Act X of 2010) by a majority of 14 to 3.
The bench by a majority of 11 to 06 also dismissed the Constitution petitions challenging the Constitution (Twenty-first Amendment) Act (Act 1 of 2015) and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act (Act 11 of 2015).
The judgement over one thousand pages was authored by the Chief Justice Nasir ul Mulk. The short order was announced in the court room No 1 by the bench.
The senior most judges after the chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and some others who dissented with their brother judges also wrote dissenting note.
Following is the text of the short order, “In view of the respective opinions recorded above, by a majority of 13 to 04 these Constitution petitions are held to be maintainable.
However, by a majority of 14 to 03 the Constitution petitions challenging the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act (Act X of 2010) are dismissed, while by a majority of 11 to 06 the Constitution petitions challenging the Constitution (Twenty-first Amendment) Act (Act 1 of 2015) and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act (Act 11 of 2015) are dismissed.”
According to details, the Parliament passed the 21st Amendment and the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, to establish the special military courts after the massacre in the Army Public School, Peshawar, and last year.
A total of 31 constitutional petitions were taken up by the court, of which 16 petitions were regarding 18th Amendment and the rest were about 21st amendment.
The 21st amendment to the constitution of Pakistan was passed by both the National Assembly and Senate on January 6, 2015 seeking to setup speedy trial military courts for offences relating to terrorism. Under the amendment, the duration of the military courts would be two years.
The 18th amendment was passed by the National Assembly on April 8, 2010, under which judicial commission will recommend the appointment procedures of superior judges and the final names of judges will be decided by the parliamentary committee.
Establishment of military courts was challenged in the pleas against the 21st Constitutional amendment by the Supreme Court Bar Association, the Lahore High Court Bar Association and other lawyers’ bodies, auguring that the military courts were an expression of no-confidence on prevailing judiciary.
Pleas against 18th Amendment were filed in April 2010. The SC had postponed the matter after giving an order in the matter in October 2010.
The SC had reserved the verdict in the matter after at least 30 hearings.