CJP consitutes new bench for court contempt case against Talal

Islamabad Politics Monitor/Allahdad sadique: A new bench of the Supreme Court has been constituted for hearing the court contempt case against Federal Minister for State Talal Chaudhry.

The new bench comprising of Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sardar Tariq and Justice Faisal Arab will hear the case from 14th May.

The bench has been constituted by the Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

Earlier, a three-member bench headed by Justice Aijaz Afzal Khan was hearing the case. The bench was dissolved on 7th May due to Khan’s retirement.

The court has served notices to Talal Chaudhry and other parties in the case regarding the matter.

Justice Isa concerned over CJP’s ‘unwarranted’ reconstitution of bench

Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Saturday expressed concerns over the reconstruction of a bench by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, while calling the move unwarranted and unprecedented.

Referring to the three-member bench to hear a case pertaining to hospital waste disposal from which he was excluded, the Supreme Court (SC) judge authored a note, questioning the “unwarranted and unprecedented [move] to reconstitute a bench, in such a manner, while hearing a case”.

He warned that it “undermines the integrity of the system, and may have serious repercussions.”

“I am constrained to write this as not doing so would weigh heavily on my conscience and I would be abdicating my responsibility as a judge,” wrote the SC judge.

The note referred to a recent incident during the case proceedings when Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Health Secretary Abid Majeed was reading out from a report on incinerators in government hospitals, which he said had been submitted on the directives of the human rights cell (HRC) of the apex court.

Justice Isa notes that he then called the KP advocate general to read out Article 184 (3) of the Constitution. He said this was done because he wanted to ascertain whether the said article could be invoked in the case being heard as the relevant material was absent from its file.

Justice Isa authors note while reacting to CJP’s move to reconstruct a bench

He mentioned that the article allows the SC to give an order if it “considers that a question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of fundamental rights” is involved.

Justice Isa added that the SC needs to satisfy itself that both conditions i.e. the matter being of public importance and involving fundamental rights, are met for it to be able to assume original jurisdiction as stated in Article 184 (3). He noted that the director of the HRC had written similar notes in earlier cases as well.

“However, before Article 184(3) could be read, the honourable chief justice intervened and said that he will be reconstituting the bench and suddenly rose up. The Bench was then presumably reconstituted, I say presumably because no order was sent to me to this effect. However, a two-member bench did assemble later, from which I was excluded,” he explained.

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