February 16th, 2021
By Staff reporter
The Pakistan Bar Council and the Peshawar High Court Bar Association have urged the Supreme Court to review its order of barring Justice Qazi Faez Isa from hearing cases concerning Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In a statement on 15th February issued from Islamabad, Khush Dil Khan, vice chairman of PBC, said that It is in the larger interest of the smooth functioning of the Supreme Court and for safeguarding the independence of its judges for discharging their constitutional duties to dispense justice that the order should be reviewed.
Khush Dil Khan expressed concern over barring Justice Isa from taking up cases against the PM without consulting the judge himself and even without circulating the same to him for his views and signatures and subsequently, not making him part of any bench of the Supreme Court for hearing court cases and instead of confining him to do only chamber work. “I, therefore, urge upon the Supreme Court for reviewing its action, as aforementioned, in the larger interest of smooth functioning of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and for safeguarding the independence of its Hon’ble Judges for discharging their constitutional duties to dispense justice,” he said.
In a separate statement from Peshawar, PHCBA president Khalid Anwar Afridi said that the concept of judicial recusal required a judge to self-evaluate whether it would be appropriate for him to hear a particular case or not. “The decision to recuse is ultimately one which the judge in question has to make and it cannot be made on his behalf by colleague judges, when sitting as co-members of the bench or otherwise,” he said, adding that such had been the practice in England from time of Sir William Blackstone and in the United States from the time of Chief Justice John Marshall.
The PHCBA president said that if the decision to recuse had to be made by other members of the bench on behalf of a judge, then this essentially meant that the judge, on whose behalf the decision was being made, was incapable of making that decision.
“By making the judgment call for and on behalf of Justice Qazi Faez Isa to recuse him from cases involving the prime minister, the chief justice and other honorable judges have essentially accused Justice Qazi Faez Isa of being incapable of upholding his basic oath of office as a judge of the Supreme Court,” he said.
The PHCBA president stated that the exclusion of Justice Qazi Faez Isa from certain kinds of benches and from hearing cases related to certain kinds of entities naturally led to the logical inference that voice was being quelled. “It seems that Pakistan has pioneered a new law where through judicial edict we exclude dissenting judicial voices from benches and certain classes of cases involving the powerful, taking away the prerogative of judges to self-recuse,” he said.
Afridi said that such despotic practice was followed in no other legal system and it was worrying to see that it was taking root in Pakistan.
Earlier, Balochistan Bar Council had expressed concern over the Supreme Court’s Feb 11 order restraining Justice Qazi Faez Isa from hearing cases related to the PM. The provincial bar council had announced a lawyers strike on 15th Feb, Monday, in protest of the apex court order.