Justice Qazi Faez Isa has once again called into question the conduct of the Supreme Court registrar office and accused it of not listing cases on time to benefit “the other side”.
"Every act of the registrar benefits the other side or those aligned with them,” said an application submitted by the Supreme Court judge and his wife Sarina Isa after their review petitions against the apex court’s June 19, 2020 order were not placed for hearing on Wednesday before a 10-judge bench.
“The registrar by his conduct has repeatedly demonstrated that he is misusing his power and authority and circumventing the due process of the law in its application to the petitioners
“Only a few working days are left before the retirement of a hon'ble judge [Manzoor Ahmad Malik] and it is now patently clear that it is the endeavour of the respondents, manipulating matters through the registrar, who is a government servant, to deprive the petitioners an access to justice," it said.
Interestingly, the registrar office later listed the review petitions for hearing today [Thursday].
The application noted that Justice Malik is set retire on April 30 and the case will have to be decided before then. When a member of a bench retires, the earlier bench disintegrates and the chief justice of Pakistan has to form a new bench.
"[In view of this] the petitioners [on April 3, 2021] wrote to the Registrar to place before the judges the attached request which respectfully submitted that the order on the said application [with regard to live coverage of the review petition] may be announced…
“And since the petitioners [including Justice Isa] represent themselves, they may be informed when the review petitions will be heard, to ensure their presence and enable them to come prepared"
The application stated that the cases were then listed on April 13, 2021 when the bench announced a short order dismissing Justice Isa’s request for live broadcast of his review petition’s hearing. The case was then adjourned till April 14.
Accordingly, Justice Isa through his office informed the office of the registrar that he would not be available for court work on April 14 as he would be arguing his own case.
Likewise, Sarina Isa had also sent for her daughter's mother-in-law to come from Karachi to take care of her daughter's three minor children as she is being assisted by her daughter in the court.
"However, much to the surprise of the petitioners, once again their cases were not listed for hearing on April 14, 2021 and once again this was done without any intimation to either of them," it said.
The superior bars have also moved an application regarding “immediate fixation of their review petitions” against June 19, 2020 order through which the SC had directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to probe into the undeclared properties of Justice Isa’s family members.
This is not the first time Justice Isa has questioned the SC registrar’s policy regarding listing of cases. In another judgment, Justice Isa wondered why the registrar does not place important cases for hearing.
He had observed that all power to be exercised by the chief justice or the Supreme Court registrar must advance the cause of justice, not to defeat it or undermine it.
"Cases in which interim orders are passed suspending judgments of the high court which had held that a law violates fundamental rights and/or the Constitution require to be decided as soon as is practicable, and this is only possible if they are fixed for hearing as early as possible," he wrote in an order.
Earlier, the SC judge had also called into question the SC registrar’s conduct when it delayed listing the case against dissolution of the local governments in Punjab.