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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges, unanimously, decided to give an institutional response in case of meddling in their judicial working in future.

The IHC, Tuesday, held a full court meeting to deliberate and finalise the proposals to submit the same to the Supreme Court in a matter related to the interference of agencies in judicial functions.

There are eight judges in IHC including, the chief justice. All the judges attended the meeting which continued for around two and a half hours and finalised the proposals. No official, including the IHC Registrar, was allowed to be present in the meeting.

Judges letter: IHC CJ seeks suggestions from judges

The sources said that the participants of the IHC Full Court took the decision to give a unanimous response to any interference in judicial affairs in the future. They also decided to send all the proposals to the Supreme Court, unanimously, and there was no disagreement on the proposal of any judge in the full court.

The Supreme Court had asked the judges to submit their proposals by April 25; therefore, IHC CJ Aamer Farooq in light of the Supreme Court’s order convened the meeting of the Full Court in the IHC Conference Room of the high court to deliberate upon the proposals to end the alleged interference of the agencies.

The IHC officials told the media that the IHC Registrar’s Office circulated the apex court’s order among the judges and sought their final proposals by the deadline. The IHC administration will now file a consolidated report before the Supreme Court.

The Full Court meeting was held to discuss and consider “how best to protect independence of the judiciary” and to “put in place a mechanism to affix liability for those who undermine such independence and clarity for the benefit of individual judges the course they must take when they find themselves at the receiving end of interference and/ or intimidation by members of the executive”, in the light of directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan passed in order dated 03.04.2024 in a suo moto case.

The IHC six judges – Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Justice Saman Raffat Imtiaz – on March 25 wrote a letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against the alleged “interference” and “intimidation” by the “operatives of intelligence agencies.” In the letter, they had sought guidance on the interference of intelligent agencies in judicial functions.

The Supreme Court; therefore, initiated a suo motu proceeding on the letter of six out of the eight IHC judges against the alleged meddling in the judicial affairs. In its April 3 order, the SC called for proposals from the main stakeholders in the judicial system and the independence of judiciary, namely the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), high courts, and the federal government.

“They should suggest what should be the institutional response and mechanism to address the issues like the ones raised in the letter (of IHC judges) and ensure that such issues do not arise in future and, if they do, to fix liability and proceed against those responsible,” the order stated. In any such process, it added, the idea was to empower the high courts and their chief justices to deal with issues relating to the judges.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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KU Apr 24, 2024 07:11am
When rule of law chooses to ignore threats to justice, it gives another low confidence message to people. How much more must our country n supposedly democracy suffer?
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