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ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Wednesday noted that Jehangir Tareen’s counsel does not have anything to plead on merit except raising technical issues regarding insider-trading.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heard PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi’s petition against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf General Secretary Jehangir Tareen.
Abbasi in his plea has claimed that Tareen had acquired 341.780 shares through trading in the name of Haji Khan and Allah Yar who were his gardener and cook. He made gain of Rs70.811 million through sale of his shareholding in USML, in stock market and under public offer made by JDW in October 2005. At that time Tareen was holding portfolio of minister of industries, Abbasi further claimed.
JDW, Tareen sugar mills, acquired 75 percent capital of the USML i.e. 2.250 million through a share purchase agreement dated October 21, 2005, whereas remaining 21.6 percent were acquired in a public offer held at Rs333.33 per share.
Tareen as minister was privy to all inside material information during acquisition of USML and consequently made a hefty gain of Rs70.811 million in violation of Section 15A of the Securities and Exchange Ordinance, 1969, the PML-N minister claimed. When SECP caught Tareen he not only returned the gain but also paid Rs1.2 million as fine, he added.
Sikandar Bashir, representing the PTI general secretary, in his arguments instead of replying to the facts mentioned in Abbasi’s petition, contended that clause A & B of Section 15 of the Ordinance were introduced through Finance Bill therefore it is void law and ultra vires to the Article 73 of Constitution. The law is non-est (not in existence), he asserted.
In defence, he referred SC judgment in Sindh High Court Bar Association case wherein the apex court had struck down the amendment in constitution to enhance judges’ strength of superior judiciary through Finance Bill.
Justice Umar Atta Bandial told the counsel that they are looking to convict the PTI general secretary, so, the court should be told whether Tareen acted in fair manner or not.
The counsel argued that Jehangir Tareen was not the director of the company (JDW) but a member of its Board of Directors. He said that this is the case of ‘manseria’ and his client did not act in any manner with bad intention.
Sikandar argued that Section 15(a)(b) is bad law, adding if today the court try his client for criminal offence on the basis of this law and later on someone files a petition challenging the law and the court come to the conclusion that it was indeed a bad law then what would his client do. He said this Supreme Court is the court of equity.
Justice Umar inquired whether the money paid would go in consolidated fund or public account, adding all the revenue received by the federal government go to the consolidate fund.
The chief justice questioned whether Articles 73 and 78 of Constitution were independent. He remarked that Article 73 relates to money bill, while Article 78 is about what amount should go into consolidate funds.
Justice Faisal Arab asked the counsel that if amendment in Security and Exchange Act 1969 could not be done through Finance Bill then under what law such amendment was permissible.
The counsel replied that the matter should be construed narrowly.
The chief justice said why it should be done narrowly; why not give it amplified treatment as there were constitutional provisions attached to it.
Sikandar said in SHCBA judgment the court has discouraged such practice.
The case was adjourned until today (Thursday).
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 19-Oct-2017 here.