Islamabad. As a 10-judge larger bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial is seized with the review petitions against the June 19, 2020 order, Justice Qazi Faez Isa has requested the Supreme Court to permit live broadcast of his case proceedings.
"To restore a semblance of balance and to correct the public perception, it is submitted that all future proceedings in the petitioner’s case may graciously be directed to be broadcast live, and/or live-streamed,” says an application moved by Justice Isa.
“Broadcasting and/or live streaming of court proceedings would be an affirmation of the Fundamental and constitutional rights of the petitioner and of the public. This would also be a testament to accountability and transparency, which in the present case must ruthlessly be pursued," the application adds.
He requested the Supreme Court to direct the state-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) to broadcast live the proceedings of his case.
“Likewise, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) is directed to issue written instructions to all private channels that they cannot be restrained in any manner whatsoever from broadcasting the proceedings and to order live streaming of court proceedings.”
The judge said court proceedings are broadcast in a large number of countries, including High Court of Australia, Supreme Court of Canada, Supreme People’s Court of China, United States of America’s Federal Courts, European Court of Human Rights, Federal Constitutional Courts and Supreme Courts of Germany, Supreme Court of New Zealand, Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa, Supreme Court of Brazil, the International Criminal Court and recently by the Supreme Court of India (Swapnil Tripathi vs Supreme Court of India (2018) 10 SCC 639) and by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (R Miller) vs the Prime Minister  UKSC 41, which was viewed by millions.
The application states that the official respondents (government functionaries) leaked the presidential reference to the media, spread falsehoods and leaned on the media not to publish the petitioner’s replies and thus influenced and formed public opinion.
"They did their utmost to ensure that the reputation and credibility of the petitioner was irretrievably tarnished by one-sided and sustained propaganda. At this juncture the irreparable harm already caused to the petitioner cannot be undone, irrespective of the unanimous decision of this court and the decision to follow on the pending review application."
Justice Isa has raised serious questions about partiality of the Supreme Judicial Council led by the then chairman Asif Saeed Khosa.
The application states that the petitioner expected that the SJC and/or Chief Justice/Chairman of the SJC would immediately stop the public humiliation of a brother judge, but, much to the dismay of the petitioner, that did not happen.
"The SJC contributed to the defamation of the petitioner; it never once heard the petitioner, but in its order dated August 19, 2019 (‘the order’) dismissing Reference No 427, humiliated and castigated the petitioner.
The order was also uploaded on the Supreme Court website. However, till date the petitioner has not been provided a copy of the order but it has been broadcast far and wide, says the application.
"Whether the petitioner (Justice Isa) survives as a judge or not, his reputation is tarnished by the actions of the official respondents and the SJC."
"The Federal Minister for Information, against whom this Hon’ble Court recommended action to be taken, was rewarded by the Prime Minister and the Punjab Chief Minister by appointing her as the ‘Special Assistant to the Chief Minister Punjab on Information and Culture’, immediately after the detailed reasons for the decision of this Hon’ble Court came.
Such effrontery to the Hon’ble Supreme Court is unparalleled. There are innumerable adverse, and at times abusive, comments, observations and tweets on social media made on the assumption that the petitioner is dishonest and has accumulated ill-gotten wealth, etc.
The petitioner’s wife and children are also abused. While the petitioner is an ardent supporter of free speech, it does not mean that those holding public offices be permitted to leak the presidential reference, speak about it, lie about the facts and the petitioner’s conduct.
The official respondents have helped formulate adverse opinion and outpouring of venom against the petitioner and his family. Farogh Naseem, Law Minister/Advocate Supreme Court sensationalised matters by blatantly and falsely stating (contrary to their own documents) that the subject properties were bought for millions of pounds.
"And, no less than the Head of State, the President of Pakistan, too joined the fray holding three different prearranged television interviews in the presidency waxing eloquent about the Presidential Reference sent by him to the SJC for determination, and did so when the matter was pending before this Hon’ble Court,” says the application.
The application says that as a judge of the Supreme Court, the petitioner was handicapped, and unlike any other citizen he could not hold a press conference to rebut or respond to the allegations.
"The official respondents, with their iron grip on the media had also ensured that the contents of the petitioner’s filings were neither broadcast nor published," says the application.