Islamabad, Oct 23 (UNI): The five-member bench of Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday declared civilians’ trials in military courts as ‘null and void’.
The Apex Court passed the Order after hearing the petitions challenging the trial of civilians involved in the May 9 riots triggered by the arrest of Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan in a corruption case.
The court announced its verdict in the case a few hours after it was reserved.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan has headed the five-member bench. The other Judges are Justices Munib Akhtar, Yayha Afridi, Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Ayesha A. Malik.
In a 4-1 majority ruling, the Top Court said that the trial of May 9 suspects would be conducted in ordinary courts. Justice Afridi had disagreed with the majority verdict.
The Court also declared Section 2(1)(d) of the Army Act, which elaborates on persons subject to the Act, to be in violation of the Constitution, Dawn news reported.
The court also declared Section 59(4) (civil offences) to be unconstitutional.
The Apex Court said that the cases should be tried in criminal courts in accordance with the nature of the crime.
However, the verdict can still be appealed before a full court by the state.
A six-judge bench, which included former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, had been hearing the petitions since June. However, after Justice Bandial’s retirement, the bench was reduced to five judges.
On Sunday, at least nine accused facing trials under the Army Act moved the apex court for early conclusion of their cases by the military courts, according to Dawn news.
In their separate applications, the suspects pleaded that they had complete faith and confidence in the military authorities to provide justice to them and to other accused persons.