Thursday, August 11, 2022

Justice Isa raises questions over SC larger bench, merger of cases

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ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court’s senior judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa has raised questions over the composition of a larger bench to hear the presidential reference and the SCBA petition.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa, in a letter written to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, has pointed out the absence of senior judges in it adding that the procedural method not taken into consideration while constituting the bench.

He pointed out that no senior-most judge was consulted while constituting the bench to hear the two cases, on which the eyes of the entire nation are set.

In his letter, Justice Faez Isa, who is among the court’s senior puisne judge, took exception to the inclusion of the judges who are 4th, 8th and 13th on the seniority list to the important bench. Pointing out the practice of constituting benches comprising of the senior-most judges when cases involving important constitutional and legal questions were to be heard, the letter read.

Justice Faez Isa has also raised objection over the appointment of a civil servant as Registrar of the Supreme Court in the letter.

“In my opinion, the Registrar’s appointment is in clear violation of the Constitution,” the letter read.

“I thought twice before writing this letter,” Justice Isa wrote.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa also expressed reservations over the apex court’s decision to merge two cases, the Supreme Court Bar’s petition regarding the execution of the no-confidence motion and the presidential reference seeking the top court’s opinion on Article 63-A.

The Bar’s petition seeks the Supreme Court’s intervention for the peaceful execution of the no-trust vote in the National Assembly, and to prevent a likely clash, while presidential reference seeking the top court’s interpretation on Article 63-A of the constitution related to the defection of parliamentarians.

In the Bar’s plea, the Supreme Court will have to give an order, while the presidential reference have consultative jurisdiction, Justice Isa wrote.

A copy of the letter has also been sent to Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Muhammad Ahsan Bhoon along with all advocate generals and SC judges.

The letter comes after Justice Umar Ata Bandial constituted a five-member larger bench to hear the presidential reference seeking the apex court’s opinion on Article 63 (A) and a petition of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).

The larger bench, headed by the CJP and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, will hear the presidential reference, seeking interpretation of Article 63 (A) of the Constitution, and the SCBA petition for restraining political parties from holding public meetings in Islamabad before voting on the no-confidence motion.

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