September 14, 2022
By Rehan Piracha
Senior lawyers have said the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial’s remarks against the government and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) were not conducive to a healthy relationship between the bench and the bar and the fellow judges of the apex court.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the new judicial year 2022-23, the CJP said the federal government refused to endorse his nominations to the Judicial Commission of Pakistan after being apparently displeased with an adverse judgment in the Punjab chief minister case. The CJP also expressed surprise over the SCBA’s partisan request for the formation of a full bench.
CJP should create harmony and consensus in JCP: Irfan Qadir
Speaking to Voicepk.net, former Attorney General Irfan Qadir was of the view that the CJP’s remarks were not conducive to a healthy relationship between the bench and the bar and the fellow judges of the apex court.
“The CJP should be seen to be carrying out dispensation of justice through the entire Supreme Court and not in isolation, especially regarding the constitution of benches in cases of far-reaching political consequences,” Irfan Qadir said.
In his view, a full court instead of the CJP should constitute benches of the apex court in cases that may result in far-reaching repercussions such as change of government in the federation or the provinces.
The CJP should create harmony and consensus among the members of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, the former attorney general added. “The role of the CJP in the Judicial Commission of Pakistan is to regulate decision making and not becoming a party in the nominations,” Irfan Qadir said.
AG, law minister upheld seniority principle in JCP: Rasheed Rizvi
Sharing concerns expressed by Irfan Qadir, Rasheed A Rizvi, former SCBA president, said it was shocking to hear the CJP speak about how the federal government refused to endorse his nominations to the Judicial Commission of Pakistan after being apparently displeased with an adverse judgment from the top court.
The senior lawyer said he had seen previous chief justices speaking in such references in the past but their speeches remained limited to addressing concerns and problems faced in court cases.
Rasheed A Rizvi said he along with senior lawyer Hamid had petitioned the court against the elevation of six junior judges in 2003. The Supreme Court had turned down their petition, citing that the appointments were fresh appointments and the principle of seniority did not apply in the case.
“if the attorney general and the law minister have upheld the principle of seniority by not endorsing the nominations there was no need for the CJP to express his reservations,” Rasheed A Rizvi told Voicepk.net.
Regarding the CJP expressing surprise over a ‘partisan request’ by the SCBA for the formation of a full bench in the Punjab CM case, Rasheed A Rizvi said the SCBA’s decision to become a party in a political case reflected a departure from the bar’s policy of public interest litigation. “The SCBA has traditionally approached the apex courts over public interest litigation, independence of the judiciary, and rule of law but it should not have sought redress over a too political question,” the senior lawyer said.
CJP remarks are an eye-opener for nation: Faisal Chaudhary
However, senior lawyer Faisal Chaudhary said he appreciated and supported the remarks made by the CJP. In his view, judges have only such forums to express themselves. “The CJP’s remarks are thought-provoking and an eye opener for the nation,” he told Voicepk.net.
Senior lawyer Faisal Chaudhary appreciated and supported the remarks made by the CJP. In his view, judges have only such forums to express themselves.” The CJP’s remarks are thought-provoking and an eye opener for the nation,” he told Voicepk.net.
According to Faisal Chaudhary, the Supreme Court Bar Association was not operating in a non-partisan manner which is an essential character and role of a bar. The senior lawyer said he had expressed reservations on the SCBA taking up for political cases of the incumbent government. “The SCBA instead of raising voice for lawyers’ community rather chose to take up the side of a political party, on which the bar’s voters members have serious reservations,” he added.
Faisal Chaudhary said he was in favour of apex judges speaking on such forums more so that they could expose the propaganda against them and reveal the truth behind the lies.
Earlier, the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf welcomed the CJP’s remarks against the government and the bar. PTI leader Fawad Hussain took to Twitter to say that the CJP’s speech was “very significant” as it revealed the joint efforts of the government and lawyers to influence the judicial proceedings.