CJP ‘disregards’ orders of Justices Isa, Aminuddin demanding postponement of suo motu matters
- Circular says unilateral assumption of judicial power in such a manner violated the rule laid down by a five-member judgment
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Friday turned down a judgement issued by Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Aminuddin Khan in which they called for the delay of suo motu matters until amendments were made to Supreme Court Rules 1980.
In a judgement issued a few days back, the two judges stated that the Constitution did not grant unilateral and arbitrary power to the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) to list cases for hearing, form special benches and select judges.
“With respect, the chief justice cannot substitute his personal wisdom with that of the Constitution,” Justice Isa had said.
In a circular, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial noted that the observations made by the majority judgment in paras 11 to 22 and 26 to 28 were beyond the matter fixed before the court and “invokes its suo motu jurisdiction”.
The circular noted that the “unilateral assumption of judicial power” in such a manner violated the rule laid down by a five-member judgment.
“Such power is to be invoked by the Chief Justice on the recommendation of an Honourable Judge or a learned Bench of the Court on the basis of criteria laid down in Article 184(3) of the Constitution. The said majority judgment therefore disregards binding law laid down by a larger bench of the Court,” read the circular.
“Any observation made in the said judgment, inter alia, for the fixation or otherwise of cases is to be disregarded. Accordingly, a circular be issued by the Registrar stating the foregoing legal position for the information of all concerned,” concluded the circular.
The circular comes after Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail of the Supreme Court released a detailed dissenting note calling for the reconsideration of the power of the Chief Justice to make unilateral decisions.
The dissenting note, released by them, sparked a debate about the power of the “one-man show” enjoyed by the CJP.
In their note related to the court’s March 1 verdict regarding the holding of elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the judges called for a re-examination of the Supreme Court’s dependence on the solitary decision of one person [CJP], saying that the top court could not function without the consensus of all its members.