Full bench to hear APNS Petition from February -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Full bench to hear APNS Petition from February

ISLAMABAD.Feb 24 :The Petition of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society against the law laying down conditions of service for its employees will now begin on regular basis from Wednesday.

The case was listed for Monday but due to the objection raised by the APNS Counsel that the constitutional Petition required a Full bench of three members to sit in judgement on the issue.

The First bench that consisted two judges instead of the three, agreed with the contention of Akram Shaikh, one of the lawyers representing the working journalists and newspaper employees, that under Order 25 subsection 2 of the Supreme Court Rules even two judges could hear arguments on the admissibility of a constitutional Petition, but they thought it would be more acceptable if a larger bench decided the matter.

The nation’s highest court has still to decide the initial issue of the admissibility of the Petition that questions the All Pakistan Newspaper Workers (Conditions of Service) Act of 1973 passed by the then National Assembly.

The First bench was composed of Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Rana Baghwandas and Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan of whom the latter member was not been able to attend the sitting on Monday.

The reconstitution of the First bench was necessitated due to departure of Chief Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui for Karachi to preside over the SAARC Law Conference.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry did not accept the request of Hafeez Pirzada that the Court should send the case back to the Chief Justice for assigning it to a larger bench.

He told Pirzada that the Court felt itself “competent to deal with the Petition and did not consider it proper to return the case to the Chief Justice,” but in case he wanted it that way he could make a request on his own.

Besides Pirzada and Akram Shaikh, other lawyers present during the hearing were Hafiz S A Rahman, Deputy Attorney General for the State, and advocates Abid Hassan Manto and Raja Muhammad Akram for the newspaper employees.

Since a board to determine minimum wages for the newspaper employees is created every fifth year under the 1973 law, the APNS is also questioning the legality of the 7th Wage Board and its implementation is being held in abeyance.

Source: Business Recorder
Date:2/24/2004