A five-member bench of the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that civilians involved in May 9 protests cannot be tried in military courts, declaring military trials of civilians are against the constitution.
Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, who led the bench, announced the verdict on Monday afternoon. The bench also declared Section 2 against the constitution.
The decision added that the 102 civilians being held for military trials for involvement in the May 9 incident can only be tried in criminal courts.
The bench also set aside a request by nine civilians in custody who had expressed confidence that military courts could provide them justice. The request was set aside as there were no affidavit attached to the application.
The decision was reserved after Attorney General Mansoor Awan completed his arguments in the case.
The five-member bench includes Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Ayesha Malik, Justice Mazahar Naqvi and Justice Yahya Afridi.
The attorney general told the court that the Army Act only applies in cases where the case is directly linked to the army. He added that court-martials have no link to Article 175 of the constitution.
The government told the court on Sunday that trials in military courts had already begun and that it was ‘imperative’ that they be concluded soon to safeguard the rights of the accused.
In an earlier hearing, the government had told the court that 102 civilians involved in the May 9 protests had been handed over to military authorities.
The attorney general had assured the court in an earlier hearing that the military trials of civilians would not begin without letting the court know in advance.