Supreme Court to hear six high court judges’ case tomorrow

Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa takes suo motu notice n Forms seven-judge bench to hear case from Wednesday n Former CJP Jillani recuses himself from Commission of Inquiry

PTI rejects 7-member SC bench on judges’ allegations.


ISLAMABAD  -  Supreme Court of Paki­stan on Monday took suo motu notice in the matter pertaining to the letter of six judges of Islamabad High Court (IHC) and formed a larg­er bench hear the case on April 3 (tomorrow). 

A seven-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa will hear the case on Wednesday at 11:30am. Justice Man­soor Ali Shah, Justice Ya­hya Afridi, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Musar­rat Hilali, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan would also be the part of the bench.

The apex court un­der Article 184(3) of the Constitution has extraordinary power to assume jurisdiction over any “question of public importance with reference to the en­forcement of any fun­damental rights.” Under this article can summon any person, government officials or document or record from any govern­ment department. The SC may assert jurisdic­tion either on the basis of a petition filed in the court by any party, or on its own motion referred to as a suo motu notice.

IHC’s six judges in­cluding Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Mu­hammad Tahir, and Justice Sa­man Raffat Imtiaz, on March 25, wrote a letter to the Supreme Ju­dicial Council seeking guidance on the interference of intelli­gence agencies.

CJP Qazi Faez in view of the gravity of the allegations lev­elled in the said letter, called a meeting on the same day with the chief justice and all the judges of the IHC after Iftar at 8pm at the chief justice’s res­idence. The concerns of all the judges were heard individual­ly in a meeting which lasted for over two and a half hours.

The following day (27 March), the CJP met with Attorney-Gen­eral Mansoor Usman Awan and Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar, and thereafter, the CJP along with the Senior Puisne Judge Syed Man­soor Ali Shah met with the pres­ident of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the senior most member of the Pakistan Bar Council, present in Islamabad.

The same day a Full Court Meeting of all the judges of the Supreme Court was called under the chairmanship of the chief justice of Pakistan to deliberate over the issues raised in the let­ter. A consensus was developed among the majority of the mem­bers of the Full Court that in view of the gravity of the situa­tion, the CJP may hold a meeting with the prime minister on the issues raised in the said letter and the meeting was adjourned.

CJP Faez, therefore, on March 28, along with Senior Puisne Judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Registrar Supreme Court Ja­zeela Aslam met with PM Sheh­baz Sharif. Federal Minister for Law Tarar, and Attorney Gener­al for Pakistan Awan were also present in the meeting.

Justice Faez had made it clear to the federal government that interference by the Executive in the affairs and judicial workings of judges will not be tolerated and under no circumstances can independence of the judiciary be allowed to be compromised.


Former chief justice of Paki­stan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani Monday recused from the Com­mission, constituted by the fed­eral government to probe the al­legations leveled by six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in a letter to the Supreme Judi­cial Council.

In one page letter to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the for­mer CJP thanked him and the cabinet for reposing confidence in him to head the commission. “I am also grateful to the CJP Qazi Faiz Isa and senior puisne judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah for expressing confidence in me,” added the letter.

However, ex-CJP Jilani wrote: “Since the letter (IHC judges) is addressed to the members of the Supreme Judicial Coun­cil and its chairman the Chief Justice of Pakistan, it would be violative of judicial propriety for me to inquire into a matter which may fall within the juris­diction of a constitutional body which is the Supreme Judicial Council or the Supreme Court of Pakistan itself”. 

He further wrote that the terms of the reference for the in­quiry are not “strictly” relevant to the subject under consider­ation. The request made in the letter is for an “institutional con­sultation”, with the terms of the mechanism suggested in the let­ter, he added.

The ex-CJP maintained that the letter may not strictly fall within the parameters of Arti­cle 209 of the Constitution. He, therefore, declined to head the commission and proceed with the inquiry. The federal gov­ernment on March 30 consti­tuted one-man inquiry com­mission, and nominated Justice Jillani to head it, to probe the allegations of IHC six judges – Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahan­giri, Justice Babar Sattar, Jus­tice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Ta­hir, and Justice Saman Raf­fat Imtiaz, who on March 25, wrote a letter to the SJC seek­ing guidance on the interfer­ence of intelligence agencies.

In a meeting between PM Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Jus­tice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, on March 28, a proposal was made to constitute an Inqui­ry Commission under the Pa­kistan Commissions of Inqui­ry Act, 2017, which should be headed by a retired judge of impeccable integrity to inquire into the matter.

Justice Jillani had retired as the chief justice of Supreme Court in July 2014. He also served as ad-hoc judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to repre­sent Pakistan in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. The ex-CJP is known as a liberal, independent, and balanced judge.

The Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Bar Association have welcomed the appoint­ment of Justice Jillani to head the commission.

In a statement PBC vice-Chair­man Riazat Ali Sahar, and it Chairman of the Executive Com­mittee Farooq Hamid Naek Jus­tice supported and welcomed the appointment of Tassaduq Hussain Jillani as head of the in­quiry commission to probe IHC judges allegations.

SCBA President Shahzad Shau­kat, while talking to Press As­sociation of Supreme Court Re­porters members said that no one should have any objection on Justice Jillani’s nomination. 

However, Balochistan High Court Bar Association, Multan Bar Association and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf rejected the nomination and demanded that the Supreme Court should take suo moto notice on IHC judg­es’ letter and the SC Full Court hear it.

The ToRs of the commission were that it will fully investigate the allegations of the IHC judg­es and determine their veracity, if any. It will also investigate if any official was directly involved in judicial interference and sug­gest action against any agency, department or state institution based on the facts unearthed. The commission will also be at liberty to investigate any other matter during the course of the inquiry if it feels the issue to be important.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Teh­reek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday vehemently rejected the sev­en-member larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Esa to probe six Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges’ letter docu­menting alleged interference in judicial affairs.

The party demanded that the matter should be heard by the full court and the proceedings should be televised live.

Speaking at a press conference along with former chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khurshid, PTI Information Secretary Raoof Hasan said that the party would not accept the seven-mem­ber bench because it comprises like-minded judges.

He added that the full court should take up the case and an­nounce such a decision that no institution could ever dare to in­terfere in the judiciary again.

He demanded that a judicial conference should also be con­vened; where all judges should be allowed to tell their stories.

Raoof went on to say that it would be travesty of law to task a person to form a commis­sion to probe into the matter in which he himself was as a nom­inated accused – a reference to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

He said that former chief jus­tice of Pakistan (CJP) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani took the right de­cision to recuse himself from heading a one-man inquiry com­mission to probe the interfer­ence by intelligence agencies in judicial affairs.

The secretary information added that Jillani endorsed PTI’s stance because they were also advocating that it was a serious matter and should be instigated by the full court.

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