“We never asked anyone to file petitions against the government,” Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday remarked on Monday, quashing the impression that a “war is going on between the judiciary and the executive”.
During the suo motu hearing of a case in connection with the news item aired by a few TV channels on Friday that the government was considering withdrawing the notification of judges’ restoration issued on March 16 last year, Justice Ramday further remarked: “The Supreme Court gave its verdict on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) when parliament chose not to ratify it. Was it our fault?”
“We hear daily that a sort of war is continuing between the judiciary and the executive. Show us any order which may prove that the judiciary is at war with the government,” said Justice Ramday, adding, “We left the matter of NRO to parliament which did not endorse it. Was it our fault if we gave verdict on it?”
“Faisal Saleh Hayat, a parliamentarian, himself approached the Supreme Court in the rental power projects case…opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan challenged the appointment of NAB chairman. We never asked him to file petition in the Supreme Court,” he observed.
Earlier, Attorney General Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq submitted before the apex court’s 17-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that the government has constituted a six-member committee to probe the news aired on Friday that the government was contemplating withdrawing the notification of judges’ restoration. The committee has submitted its preliminary report in the Supreme Court but has sought some time to furnish the final report. He also informed the bench that the committee has summoned the anchorpersons concerned on October 23, adding that the copy of court order issued on Friday in this case has been dispatched to the President, prime minister, all four chief ministers and chief secretaries.
The initial report states that the reporter concerned had based his story on a “government source” but this was not proved during the course of panel’s investigation. The committee will submit the final report after recording statements of journalists.
A TV channel reported that the order pertaining to withdrawal of notification had been signed, Justice Javed Iqbal pointed out, upon which the AG submitted that neither the government had any intention to issue such order nor was such an order given by the authorities.
The chief justice asked the attorney general whether someone on behalf of the government had expressed a desire to submit a reply on the issue, to which the government’s chief legal officer replied that neither anyone expressed such desire nor such orders were given to him in writing.
The court also expressed concern over the use of the word “standoff” in the report of the six-member investigation committee and observed that the meaning of “standoff” is confrontation. “It is understandable if someone uses such words in public rallies but those sitting in the committee are all responsible people,” Justice Ramday observed.
Such words should not be written in the committee report, the chief justice observed. They should be circumspect in the choice of words, he added. The court adjourned the case hearing till the submission of the final report with findings to the effect as to who was responsible for airing the news.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2010.
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