Meddling in judicial affairs: BBC, BHCBA request SC to constitute full court

Legal fraternity requested SC to constitute a full court for hearing matter of interference of intelligence agencies in judicial affairs, alleged by six judges of Islamabad High Court (IHC)

By Sohail Khan
April 25, 2024
A general view of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — SC website/File

ISLAMABAD: The legal fraternity on Wednesday requested the Supreme Court (SC) to constitute a full court for hearing the matter of interference of intelligence agencies in the judicial affairs, alleged by six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).


Balochistan Bar Council (BBC) as well as Balochistan High Court Bar Association (BHCBA) filed identical petitions in the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the Federation through secretary Ministry of Law and Justice and government through secretary Cabinet Division as respondents.

Filed through advocate Hamid Khan, the petitioners submitted that all such actions are unconstitutional and unlawful and a threat to rule of law, access to justice and independence of judiciary. The petitioners further prayed that the federal government be directed that those who are found involved in such unlawful acts, be dealt in accordance with law besides directing the respondents to ensure that in future no such incidents took place.

It is pertinent to mention here that a seven-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, will hear the suo motu case regarding the letter written by six judges of Islamabad High Court (IHC) alleging the interference of intelligence agencies in the judicial affairs on April 29.

On March 25, six judges of Islamabad High Court (IHC) had demanded Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Qazi Faez Isa convene a judicial convention to consider the matter of interference of intelligence operatives with judicial functions or intimidation of judges in a manner that undermines independence of the judiciary.

Judges of the Islamabad High Court including Justice Mohisn Akhtar Kiyani, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, Justice Tariq Mahmood Jehangiri, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan and Justice Saman Rifat Imtiaz wrote a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

The IHC judges maintained that such convention might provide further information as to whether judges of other High Courts have had experiences similar to those narrated above.

In its petitions, the Balochistan Bar Council and Balochistan High Court Bar Association submitted that there is a policy on part of executive, which is being implemented through operatives, to intimidate judges and those who are involved in this act are acting beyond their constitutional mandate. They demanded that a full court comprising all judges of Supreme Court hear the issue and pass the appropriate orders.

“This court may be pleased to entertain this petition and adjudicate upon the questions/issues having been raised through the instant petition with regard to the constitution of commission as the same is illegal, unconstitutional and void ab initio, mala fide and without lawful authority,” the petitioners submitted.

The petitioners submitted that in the light of dictum and observations made by this Hon’ble Court in Constitution Petition No. 76 of 2018 establishes prima facie constitutes that the operatives have been involved in unlawful attempts to influence the independence of judiciary and access to justice which requires prompt measure with a view to upholding the rule of law as well as the independence of judiciary.

“Any failure to do so shall be seen disgracefully by the public at large, which may build a bridge of disagreement between the public at large and higher judiciary and could create a gulf between the public and judiciary which may lead towards anarchy within the state,” the petitioners contended.

It was contended that the judiciary needs to be protected from attempts to breach its independence adding that such interference requires calibration of appropriate amount of transparency in consonance with judicial independence. It is of great public importance, therefore, that the efficacy of the judicial process is maintained and this is only possible where the public reposes its trust and confidence in the judiciary. The petitioners submitted that there is a systematic and continuous attempt underway by certain visible, and invisible hands within the executive branch of government to intimidate judges into subjugation and permanently fetter the independence of the judiciary which in effect violates the right to access to justice.