KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has ruled that recent amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) gave no authority to a responsible court to transfer a case to another court.
The decision came from a divisional bench of the High Court of Sindh.
The bench of two judges was headed by Judge Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar.
The court was hearing bail applications from two defendants in a corruption case filed last year.
Their lawyer argued that the referral was pending before the Magistrate Court i.e. Accountability Court-VI in Karachi and after recent amendments to the law the court transferred the case to the District Court and sessions (East).
The attorneys argued that the district judge declined to hear the referral due to a lack of territorial jurisdiction since the case involved the southern district judge and that he has now contacted the CHS clerk to obtain a appropriate prescription.
The bench in its order observed that the letter had been sent to the clerk on September 14, but apparently no order had been passed through the office.
“This appears to be a very sad situation with respect to the subordinate courts, and it is not clear how the liability court could have exercised its jurisdiction to transfer the case to another court, including the district court. and Session Judge, East,” he added.
It further noted that the order of the Court of Auditors ordering the dismissal of the dismissal had not been contested by the public prosecutor.
“However, it is very clear that in relation to the 2022 Amendment Act, it does not provide any authority for the Court of Auditors to transfer a case to another court,” he observed.
The bench further stated that the accountability court should not have transferred the case to another court on its own and instead it could have been referred to the Crown or at best, guidance could have been sought from the Administrative Judge of the Karachi Accountability Courts. or from the CHS Registrar.
Allowing bail, the court said it appeared to be a case in which, apparently, the applicants were in unlawful detention and therefore also unable to seek bail from a court.
Posted in Dawn, November 16, 2022