Justice Isa expresses ‘shock’ over CJP order being released to media before him

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa wrote a letter to the registrar and expressed ‘shock’ that the judgement was released to the media before it was sent to him.

The copy of a letter by Justice Isa to the Supreme Court registrar, dated February 12, surfaced today, in which Justice Isa says that as per “settled practice” the judgement, once written by the judge heading the bench, is sent to the next senior-most judge. He added that “Honourable Mr Justice Ijazul Ahsan apparently received it, but I never did, and the world knows of it before I’ve seen it.”

In his letter to the registrar, Justice Isa raised four questions, which are as follows:

1) Why the order/judgement was not sent to me?

2) Why the settled practice of sending it (the judgement) to next senior judge was not followed?

3) Why was it released to the media before I read it (let alone had the opportunity to sign it in agreement/disagreement)?

4) Who ordered its release to the media?

Justice Isa also asks for case file so he could read order/judgment.

A day after, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed in a written order on a petition related to alleged distribution of development funds among parliamentarians by the premier remarked that Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa should not hear matters, involving Prime Minister Imran Khan,

The top judge considering that Justice Isa had already filed a petition against the premier, in his capacity, “it would not be proper for the Hon. Judge to hear the matter” to uphold the principle of un-biasness and impartiality.

“It would not be proper for the Hon. Judge to hear the matter considering that he had already filed a petition against the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in his personal capacity. Therefore, to uphold the principle of un-biasness and impartiality, it would be in the interest of justice that the Hon. Judge should not hear matters involving the Prime Minister of Pakistan,” read the written order.

During the hearing of the case, when Justice Isa raised questions over the federal and provincial government’s stance that no development funds have been issued to any lawmaker.

At one stage, Justice Isa submitted before the court copies of certain documents received by him from some anonymous source through a WhatsApp message. The “honourable judge also stated that he was unsure if the documents were genuine”, said the order.

Meanwhile, in response Attorney General for Pakistan, submitted that “since the authenticity of the documents was questionable, the same may not be taken on record”.

“He further submitted that in any event the Hon. Judge would become a complainant in the matter and in that capacity, it would not be appropriate for the Hon. Judge to hear the matter,” the order notes.

The apex court later accepted the replies submitted by the federal and provincial governments stating that no funds had been doled out.

The order says “it appears that the queries raised by this Court in the order dated 03.02.2021 have been responded/addressed by all the respective Governments and thus, we see no reason to further proceed with the matter.”

While the five-member bench had taken up a case relating to the distribution of Rs500m uplift funds among the legislators.

PM Imran Khan denied that Rs500 million public funds were distributed among the parliamentarians and said no money would be given to the legislators for carrying out any development scheme. But Justice Isa, a member of the five-judge special bench, questioned the assurance by presenting a Whatsapp message he had received from an unknown source on Wednesday. The message contained supporting documents showing doling out of massive amounts recently for building roads by the Pak-PWD department in the constituency NA-65 that belongs to an important coalition partner.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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