Independence of judiciary is linked to its accountability: SC
ISLAMABAD, Dec 08 (Online): Supreme Court (SC) has remarked the constitutional powers to constitute bench rest with the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP).
The court further remarked the petitioner should not cross the limits by leveling allegation against the CJP. It has never happened so ever before that allegation are leveled against the CJP during the hearing of the case.
A 6-member bench of SC presided over by Justice Umar Ata Bandial took up for hearing review petition against the decision in Justice Qazi Faez Isa presidential reference case Tuesday.
Spouse of Justice Qazi Faez Isa took the plea only that bench can hear review petition under rule 26-A of SC that has earlier heard the central case.
She further said SC registrar has committed a mistake by constituting 6-member bench. How can a 6-member bench hear the review petition against the decision of 7-member bench. CJP is respondent in this case.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial while addressing Mrs Qazi Faez Isa remarked “ you are part of our family. Please be careful while talking about the institution and its head. CJP can constitute bench and it is his constitutional power. The petitioner should not cross the limits by leveling allegations against CJP.
Mrs Qazi Faez Isa while apologizing to the court took the plea “ my motive was not injuring the feelings of any judge. I regret if feelings of any judge have been hurt. Justice Umar Ata Bandia made mention of my name for 81 times despite not being party in the case. My rights were affected by removing 3 learned judges from the bench. How can a 6-member bench nullify decision of 7-member bench. A 10-member bench be constituted to hear my case.
She further said how can the CJP decide our fate as chairman Judicial council. Shahzad Akbar and Farogh Nasim adopted illegal way. The three judges who wrote dissenting note also gave decision without hearing me. I want to know why I and my husband have been targetted. Only I and my husband showed the assets out of entire judiciary. Income tax law was used to target my husband.
She stated the justice will be this that Prime Minister, law minister and all the respondents should file their income tax returns in respect of them and their families. Non filing of income tax returns by them will exhibit the respondents are practicing hypocrisy.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked “ I accept 6-member bench cannot nullify the decision of 7-member bench. The points which have been raised have been noted. The petitioner should not ignore the facts. We are not hearing review appeal just now. The way the petitioner has raised questions is not correct way. It is function of bar to maintain the dignity of judiciary among general public. Judges cannot go to the public by themselves. Independence of judiciary is next to Nil without accountability. We maintained balance in our decision. On one side we maintained the independence of the judiciary by removing objections against the judge and on the other side we gave protection to accountability process. We want case is wrapped up soon. Make preparations for the case till day after tomorrow. This matter relates to the learned judge of this court, therefore, we are very cautious. It is responsibility of bar that it should tell the people if law is being implemented.
Justice Bandial further observed this is a special case for this court. The learned judge of the court is not accused at present. The independence of judiciary is linked to its accountability. The court has to work for supremacy of justice by adhering to the constitution. The court gave the decision as per norms of justice. Several things happened in this case which created trouble but the court has to give decision only and only in line with law and constitution.
Munir A Malik counsel for Justice Qazi Faez Isa took the plea the seven judges who heard the central case also heard Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto review petition. SC rules on formation of bench are subordinate to article 189 of the constitution. My point is this it is not mentioned any where in the constitution that SC will review the minority or majority decision. The court decision is that short decision which bears signatures of all judges.
Rashid Rizvi, counsel for Sindh Bar took the plea that what is harm in it if 9 judges of SC hear the case. This impression should not go that justice has not been done. If some thing happens against the law and court’s decisions then judiciary image will stand tarnished. There is a basic principle of justice that it should be manifestly seen to be done. Bar and people are thinking as to why the judges who had written dissenting notes have not been included in this bench to hear the review petition. The court should remove this impression.
Justice Munir Akhtar remarked expressing mistrust by a senior lawyer on court is regrettable. Decrees of the decisions are implemented and not the decisions.
Advocate Rashid Rizvi said upon it that he fully stands by his arguments. We have always struggled for the independence of judiciary and supremacy of the constitution. Latif Afridi, president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) said he could not make preparations due to corona epidemic therefore, he be given time for two weeks.
The court while rejecting his plea gave him the time of one day for preparations.
The court adjourned the hearing of the case till December 10.