Friday, June 02, 2023
Brushing aside rumours about division within ranks of the top judiciary, Supreme Court senior puisne judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Friday clarified that it was "factually incorrect" that he had internally created a separate group within the top court.
Justice Isa made the remarks while clarifying a false impression cast by a video clip from the oathtaking ceremony of the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court held a day earlier.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial administered the oath to Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rahman as the chief justice of the Shariat Court.
The footage circulating on social media platforms cast an impression that the senior puisne judge did not greet the CJP during the event.
In a statement, Justice Isa said: “Immediately after the conclusion of the ceremony I went first to greet and I congratulate his wife where I met Justice Umar Ata Bandial and greeted him too.”
He went on to say that then he proceeded to greet Justice Rahman and later he went to talk to Dr Syed Muhammad Anwer, a former Aalim judge of the FSC, when Justice Bandial came to greet him too.
“Someone recorded this moment, and incorrectly added that I had not greeted Justice Bandial, even though just a few minutes earlier I had done so,” he added.
Justice Isa added, “Justice Rahman's wife wanted to introduce me to some of her family members, which was the reason I turned.”
The senior puisne judge said that erroneous interpretations have appeared in the media and requested that “factually incorrect stories should not be propagated, as they cause unnecessary and avoidable misgivings and harm”.
“My family and I can attest to the pain of being the brunt of sponsored false stories in the recent past,” he added.
“Ascertain its truthfulness carefully (before you spread it) lest you harm people through your own ignorance' (Al-Qur'an, 49:6),” he quoted a verse from the Holy Quran.
The top court judge further said, “I stand by my oath of office, to defend and uphold the Constitution of Pakistan and cannot concur with anything less. Garnishing facts to create a controversial narrative is damaging to the institution.”
“Let us not be detracted, let us work together to build a strong judicial system which focuses on the administration of expeditious justice," he concluded.
Reports about differences between Justice Isa and CJP Bandial have been appearing in print, electronic and social media platforms for the past couple of months.
Apparently, position held by the two senior judges on various matters, especially on suo motu powers of the chief justice, has led to speculations that it has created a rift between the judiciary.
In April, a six-member bench of the apex court — after a five-minute hearing — 'closed' the case that led Justice Isa to issue an order to freeze the hearings of all the sub judice suo motu notices.
The top court had constituted the six-member larger bench to review the decision of a special Supreme Court bench, led by Justice Isa, which ordered the shelving of all suo motu cases — invoked under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
On the other hand, Justice Isa said that the verdict of a six-member bench of the top court could not set aside an earlier order to halt suo motu proceedings.
Earlier, the top court in a circular “disregarded” a judgement authored by Justice Isa ordering the postponement of suo motu cases till amendments are made in the Supreme Court Rules 1980 regarding the discretionary powers of the chief justice to form benches.
In its circular, CJPBandial noted that the observations made by the majority judgment in paras 11 to 22 and 26 to 28 were beyond the matter fixed before the court and “invokes its suo motu jurisdiction”.
In May, Justice Isa "skipped" CJP Bandial’s dinner for his colleagues aimed at “ending differences” among the judges, sources told Geo News.