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Govt files review petition in army chief extension case

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The federal government on Thursday filed a review petition against the Supreme Court’s verdict in the army chief’s extension of service case.
In the petition, the government has pleaded the court to form a larger bench to hear the case, and requested it to keep the proceedings in-camera.
The petition argues that the SC verdict did not take into account “important constitutional and legal” points. It further states that the apex court has itself “been giving extensions to additional and ad-hoc judges”, making a case for the government to exercise this discretion as well.
Furthermore, the petition argues that the court did not base its decision on the judgement in the judges extension case.
On November 28, the top court, through a short order, had allowed the federal government to grant a six-month extension to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The Supreme Court had on December 16 issued its detailed verdict on the extension of the chief of the army staff’s services.
In the detailed verdict, penned by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, the court had stated that the SC bench “explored the scope of Article 243 of the Constitution, reviewed the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 and the Pakistan Army Act Rules, 1954”.
The court “found that the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 fell deficient of the structural requirements for raising and maintaining an Army under clause (3) of Article 243 of the Constitution”.
The verdict noted that “no tenure or age of retirement for the rank of General is provided under the law. As per institutional practice, a General retires on completion of a tenure of three years. Although an institutional practice cannot be a valid substitute of the law.”
“There is no provision in the law for extending service of a General for another tenure; nor is there any consistent and continuous institutional practice of granting such extension,” Justice Shah wrote, adding that the summaries for the reappointment, extension and fresh appointment of General Bajwa were “meaningless” in absence of the relevant law.
The verdict further stated that in the light of the attorney general’s assurances as well as the importance of the responsibilities of the COAS, it would allow that the incumbent COAS continue for a period of six months.
However, the court has warned that in the absence of legislation on the matter within six months, the institutional practice of retirement of a General on completion of the tenure of three years “shall stand enforced”.
 

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