CJP Bandial forms larger bench to hear pleas against audio leak commission

Maryam Nawaz
View of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — APP/File
View of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — APP/File

  • Bandial-led larger bench will take up pleas against Justice Isa-led panel.
  • High-powered commission formed to probe audio leaks related to judiciary.
  • PTI chief, SCBA president raised questions, challenged formation of body. 

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Thursday constituted a five-member larger bench to hear petitions against the inquiry commission probing audio leaks involving judges.

The larger bench headed by CJP Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Shahid Waheed will conduct a hearing on the case today (Friday) at 11am.

Last week, the federal government formed a high-powered judicial commission headed by senior SC Judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court to probe the audio leaks related to the judiciary.

The commission has been tasked to complete the inquiry within 30 days.

Among the multiple audio leaks, the commission will also probe into the veracity of the alleged call between former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and a sitting top court judge as well as another call between CM Elahi and a Supreme Court lawyer over the constitution of an apex court bench.

Subsequently, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan questioned the government for the "deliberate omission" of the terms of reference (TORs) and challenged the formation of the three-member judicial commission on audio leaks.

Babar Awan, the PTI chief's lawyer and party leader, had filed the plea on his behalf requesting the court to declare the notification for constituting the commission null and void.

Similarly, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abid Zubairi had also challenged the audio leaks commission to summon directing him to appear before the panel in connection with the inquiry.

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar earlier said that the government did not consult CJP Bandial before forming the commission.

The judicial panel — headed by Justice Isa and comprising Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan and Islamabad High Court (IHC) CJ Aamer Farooq as members — was constituted in the wake of widely circulated controversial audio leaks which raised “serious apprehensions about the independence, impartiality and uprightness of the Chief Justices/Judges of the Superior Courts in the administration of justice”.

Earlier this week, the Justice Isa-led commission announced that the proceedings of its inquiry will be made public as it held its first hearing on Monday in courtroom number 7 of the Supreme Court.