Names of Justice Ajmal Mian, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and Justice Nasirul Mulk under consideration as members of commission
The judicial commission, which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is constituting, will not confine its inquiry to members of the ruling family alone but will also look into the offshore companies of all the Pakistanis, nearly 200, named in the PanamaLeaks.
“This will be included in the terms of reference under which the commission will function,” a senior official privy to discussions at the highest level told The News.Another fact conveyed by him was that the forum would be set up under the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1976, which will govern its proceedings. Additionally, it will comprise three retired superior court judges, enjoying good reputation and standing.
The names of several retired Supreme Court judges are being considered as members of the commission. These include Justice Ajmal Mian, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and Justice Nasirul Mulk.
It is not mandatory under this law for the government to essentially appoint a serving or retired judge, but the act says the commission may consist of one or more members appointed by the federal government, and where it consists of more than one member, one of them may be appointed as its president. Any officer, not below the rank of a gazetted officer, can be nominated as a member of the commission.
The president or any such officer specially authorised in this behalf by the commission head may enter any building or place where it has reason to believe that any books of account or other documents relating to the subject matter of the inquiry may be found, and may seize any such books of account or documents or take extracts or copies there-from, subject to the law.
The commission will be deemed to be a civil court and when any offence as is described in Section 175, Section 178, Section 179, Section 180 or Section 228 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), is committed in the view or presence of the commission, the forum may, after recording the facts constituting the offence and the statement of the accused as provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C), 1898, forward the case to a magistrate having jurisdiction to try the same and the magistrate to whom any such case is forwarded shall proceed to hear the complaint against the accused as if the case had been forwarded to him under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C.
Under the act, where a commission consists of, or the president is judge of the Supreme Court or a high court, the body shall have the same power as the high court has to punish any person who abuses, interferes with or obstructs the process of the commission in any way or disobeys any order of the commission; scandalizes the commission or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the commission or its member in relation to his office into hatred, ridicule or contempt; does anything which tends to prejudice the determination of a matter pending before the commission; and or does any other thing which, by any other law, constitutes contempt of court.
However, fair comment made in good faith and in the public interest on the working of the commission or on its final report after the completion of the enquiry shall not constitute contempt of the commission. The exercise of the power conferred on the commission will be regulated by rules made by the Supreme Court.
Any proceeding before the commission will be deemed to be a judicial proceeding.
According to the law, the federal government may, if it is of opinion that it is necessary so to do, by notification, appoint the commission for the purpose of making an inquiry into any definite matter of public importance and performing such functions and within such time as may be specified in the notification, and the commission so appointed shall make the inquiry and perform the functions accordingly.