SC dismisses Justice Isa's plea for live broadcast of review proceedings

Bench recognises peoples' right of information in matters of public importance, says modalities to be decided


Hasnaat Malik April 13, 2021
Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan dismissed on Tuesday Justice Qazi Faez Isa's application for live coverage of proceedings of his review petition against the June 19, 2020 order.

The application was dismissed by a majority of 6-4 judges, of a 10-judge larger bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

"For reasons to be recorded later, this Misc. application is dismissed. However, the right of the people to have access to information in matters of public importance under Article 19-A of the Constitution is recognised, the details and modalities of which are to be decided by the Full Court on the administrative side," read the majority judgment.

Justices Maqbool Baqar, Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah were the judges dissenting with the decision.

Read Justice Isa blames oath violators for separation of East Pakistan

On March 17, while giving a rebuttal on Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Amir Rehman's arguments against live telecast of his proceedings, Justice Isa said that he had proposed to rebut all allegations against him.

He said that if he was crooked then he should be thrown out from the court, adding that his family and he were being maligned for the past two years.

Sarina Isa, the wife of Justice Isa, had read out her written statement, stating that Mirza Shahzad Akbar engineered a proxy informant, namely Abdul Waheed Dogar, who then addressed his complaint to him.

She wondered as to why the government functionaries were opposed to live broadcast of the case.

“Does truth terrify these gentlemen. They simply want to obstruct the truth and the course of justice. They deny me, a woman,who they defamed from being publicly heard and want their false propaganda against me to prevail.

"If I lie then I am prepared to publicly exonerated," she had submitted before the 10-judge larger bench.

During the hearing, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, a member of the bench, had observed that science and technology should be welcomed to bring transparency to the justice system.

Read more I am standing to uphold dignity of institution: Justice Isa

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

The judge had also referred to the innovation in DNA research, as hundreds of convictions had been overturned. Likewise, cameras were installed in the district courts for supervision. However, Justice Shah wondered about the downside of live coverage of court proceedings.

Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Amir Rehman had told the bench at the time that the government would oppose Justice Isa's application.

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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