Journalists Harassment Case: Justice Isa Says Formation Of Larger Bench By Justice Bandial Violates ...

Journalists Harassment Case: Justice Isa Says Formation Of Larger Bench By Justice Bandial Violates Constitution
Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa has written a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmad, raising questions on the decision to constitute a larger bench in the journalists’ harassment case and saying that its formation is in violation of the Constitution.

Dawn reported that in a letter addressed to the chief justice dated Aug 24, Justice Isa said the Constitution mentioned the various jurisdictions of the apex court, adding that they could also be conferred by law.

On August 20, a two-member bench of the SC, including Justice Isa and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, had taken up the case on a petition filed by the Press Association of the Supreme Court, which noted that journalists are being harassed frequently.

The two-judge bench had then issued the order that since the application had questioned matters of public importance pertaining to the enforcement of fundamental rights, it merited invoking of the suo motu jurisdiction of the top court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

However, Justice Umar Ata Bandial had responded to the development by forming a larger five-member bench of the apex court on Saturday to clarify the court's suo motu jurisdiction. This new bench had put the Aug 20 order in abeyance on Monday, observing that its implementation may raise doubts about the act of invoking suo motu jurisdiction.

Justice Isa has now written to CJP Gulzar, who is abroad on leave, justifying the invocation of suo motu. In the letter, he further wrote, "No jurisdiction is conferred which permits one bench to monitor the working of another bench, let alone to hold its orders in abeyance."

He also said that the five-member bench did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the case because the Constitution did not allow 'monitoring jurisdiction'. "Any purported order passed by the purported larger bench would be a constitutional nullity, void and of no legal effect," Justice Isa said.