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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial included Justice Qazi Faez Isa in Bench No 1 for hearing of cases next week, which will begin on September 5. For the first time, the senior puisne judge will be sitting with Justice Bandial on the same bench. The legal fraternity has termed this a positive development for the strengthening of the institution.

Former Additional Attorney General Qasim Wudood called it “a wonderful news”. “I really hope our elders would sort their issues amicably. Kudos to those who have been instrumental in this development,” he added.

According to the next week’s (September 5 to 9) roster, three benches have been constituted for hearing the cases in the Supreme Court, Islamabad.

The Bench-I comprises Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah. Bench-II is composed of Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Naqvi, while the members of Bench-III are Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Ayesha A Malik.

Justice Faez in a three-page letter, written to Chief Justice Bandial, in March this year had shed light on unfairness in the Supreme Court’s internal judicial/ administrative matters. The senior puisne judge raised serious questions over the composition of a larger bench to hear presidential reference.

It said, the composition of the five-judge bench consisted of judges who were 4th, 8th, and 13th in the seniority list of the court. This has been done by discarding the good practice of structuring the CJP’s discretion by predecessors of constituting benches consisting of senior-most judges when cases involved important constitutional questions.

He pointed out that no senior-most judge was consulted while constituting the bench to hear the cases, on which the eyes of the entire nation are set, adding this was troubling because it could potentially give rise to unnecessary and avoidable misgivings.

Since long the lawyers have stressed the need for a permanent resolution of issues regarding composition of benches, fixation of cases, and appointment of superior court judges. The CJP’s discretionary powers are vital in these matters.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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