SC issues notice to federal govt on Justice Isa's review petition

The bench lauds technology's role, but mulls the downsides of live broadcast


Hasnaat Malik March 03, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the federal government on Justice Isa's review petition, with the apex court judge requesting a live broadcast of the review petition's proceedings.

As the 10-judge larger bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the plea today, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said that science and technology should be welcomed to bring transparency to the justice system.

He observed that science and technology have played a great role in improving and ensuring transparency in the system.

The judge also referred to innovation in DNA research, as hundreds of convictions had been overturned. Likewise, cameras were installed in the district courts for supervision.

However, Justice Shah also wondered about the downsides of live coverage of court proceedings.

Also read: Justice Isa requests SC bench for early decision on review petition

According to Justice Isa, two members of a bench could negate administrative decision taken by the full court. However, a decision by the 10-judge larger bench cannot be overturned by a full court from the administrative view.

Justice, he maintained, should not only be carried out but the same should be done visibly.

He termed the judgment in the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto murder case as the 'most controversial'. He also referred to Justice Naseem Hassan Shah's interview wherein he had revealed that there was pressure by the government to issue a verdict against the PPP leader.

The senior judge said that if a recording of the case was available, it could also be used for educational purposes. "Why [do] we burry [the] history," he asked the bench.

At this, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik urged him to avoid referring to the judgments that could be cited before him in a case.

Justice Isa wondered that if a judge could be maligned publicly, why should their case be not heard publicly.

He noted that the main stakeholders of the justice system are the litigants. He also highlighted that the live coverage was beneficial for education, ensuring discipline, and improving quality of the justice system.

Also read: Justice Isa requests SC to permit live broadcast of review plea proceedings

When Justice Isa referred to a question as to what 'establishment' was, Justice Bandial said it was a political argument.

However, Justice Isa responded, saying, "it's not a political question, but is an avoidance [of] the truth."

On the occasion, Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman said the federal government would oppose Justice Isa's request for live coverage.

The hearing of the case was adjourned until Monday.

On Tuesday, the apex court bench, which is hearing a slew of petitions against the Supreme Court’s June 19, 2020 verdict in Justice Qazi Faez Isa case, permitted Justice Isa to plead his own case in view of the illness of his counsel, Munir A Malik.

On June 19, 2020, seven judges of a 10-judge bench quashed a presidential reference against Justice Isa but also ordered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct an inquiry into the judge’s family members’ foreign assets and submit a report to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

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