Situationer: Impact of two-judge order on SC hearing being debated

Various senior lawyers say judges are also bound by a judicial order unless it is suspended or revoked.

By Abdul Qayyum Siddiqui
March 30, 2023
(L to R) Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail. — Supreme Court of Pakistan website

ISLAMABAD: A legal situation has emerged in the wake of the judicial order by Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Aminuddin Khan, suspending Article 183/3 cases until the formulation of rules. It is being asked whether the five-member Supreme Court bench would postpone the hearing of the PTI petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision of putting off the Punjab Assembly election until October and whether the judicial order is binding on the Chief Justice of Pakistan.


Various senior lawyers told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity that judges are also bound by a judicial order unless it is suspended or revoked.

The lawyers cited the example of a Supreme Court bench in Quetta that gave an order regarding the-then chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah in 1997. The bench comprised Justice Irshad Hasan Khan, Justice Khalilur Rahman and Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid. Then CJP Sajjad Ali Shah tried to suspend the order through another bench. However, in the ensuing situation, he had to leave the CJP office.

The legal experts quoted a precedent whereby Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Jamal Mandokhail had passed an order under 184(3) on a plea against harassment of journalists. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who was then Acting CJP, suspended the order after constituting a five-member bench. Later, the same bench vested the suo motu authority in the CJP.

Interestingly, the legal experts said, Justice Aminuddin Khan, a member of the bench passing the above order, is also a part of the five-member bench hearing the PTI petition.

They said the matter has become complicated as the legal community is waiting what position Justice Aminuddin takes with reference to the order. On the legal side, the experts said, the CJP is also bound by the order as he is a judge like other judges. He is one step above the other judges only because of his administrative authority as the CJP, they added.