Houbara bustard’s hunting: SC judge opposes larger bench formation

Justice Isa claims there is no justification for suggested proposal

Hasnaat Malik December 18, 2015
Claim the decision has adversely affected the local economy of their areas. PHOTO: AFP


The Supreme Court judge who authored the August 19 verdict banning the hunting of the Houbara bustard has opposed the majority judges’ suggestion for the constitution of a larger bench to hear a review petition against their earlier ruling.

A three-judge bench of the apex court – headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Qazi Faez Isa – on December 10 recommended that the chief justice of Pakistan constitute a larger bench to hear review petitions against the ban.

However, one member of the bench, Judge Qazi Faez Isa, objected to the majority judges’ suggestion and wrote a five-page note of dissent. A copy of Justice Isa’s’ note is available with The Express Tribune.

Justice Isa said no reason was given for recommending constitution of a larger bench, adding that the matter was relatively simple and there was hardly any justification for the constitution of a larger bench.

The judge further stated that neither an application was submitted nor a verbal request was made for the constitution of a larger bench.  “Therefore, with profound respect, I cannot bring myself to agree with the recommendation for the constitution of a larger bench,” Justice Isa wrote.

He also reproduced Rule 8 of Order XXVI of the Supreme Court rules 1980, which says that the application for review shall be posted before the same bench that delivered the judgment or order sought to be reviewed.

“With utmost respect, the matters to be considered in these review petitions are not of a nature that may have required a departure from the rules and the longstanding continuous practice of this court.

“Therefore, I would humbly request the chief justice to let these matters be heard by the same number of judges, who had earlier heard the case, three members, incidentally two of whom (including myself) are still on the bench,”  he said.

He also observed that the judgment on banning the hunting of houbara bustard was a unanimous one.  “Larger bench may be constituted, when there are conflicting judgments of this court and such conflict needs resolution but here we are not faced with conflicting judgments”

The judge also objected to the bench’s order to fix the federal and provincial government’s review petitions in the week commencing on December 22.

“A short two week winter vacations has been notified (from December 19 to January 3) and it will be most inconvenient to all concerned if these matters are listed during this short winter vacation, particularly since there is no discernible urgency requiring them to be heard during notified winter vacation, let alone to be heard at an early date”, he adds.

Justice Isa has also objected the majority judges’ order allowing Farooq H Naek to represent Singh government in review petition. “The application filed by Mr Naek seeking permission to represent the said petitioners does not appear to disclose any reason why he should be indulged or why the law officer of the government of Sindh who had represented the petitioners could not file the same.”

Likewise, the judge also raised questions over the maintainability of the review petitions, filed by numbers of notables against the court’s judgment. He said these questions which have been formulated required to be answered before the proceedings to hear the matters on merits.

Wealthy Arab dignitaries travel to Pakistan every winter to hunt the Houbara bustard using falcons, a practice that has sparked controversy in recent years, because of the rare bird’s dwindling population.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2015.


Gramscian | 5 years ago | Reply Its an open secret that Justice Saqib Nisar is close to Sharifs.
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