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Justice Isa seeks SC registrar’s removal for ‘damaging’ top court’s integrity

"CJP can’t issue administrative direction against judicial order," says senior Supreme Court judge

By Web Desk
April 03, 2023
Justice Qazi Faez Isa. — Supreme Court of Pakistan
Justice Qazi Faez Isa. — Supreme Court of Pakistan

Senior puisne judge of the Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Monday asked the establishment division to immediately remove the apex court registrar to prevent him from further "damaging the reputation and integrity" of the top court.

Strongly reacting to the March 31 circular issued by the Supreme Court Registrar Office “disregarding” a judgement issued by a three-member bench, Justice Isa said that the SC registrar “apparently violated the Constitution”, and urged the authorities to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him in according with the applicable laws.

A special apex court bench, with a two-to-one majority on March 29, ordered suspending all suo motu cases — under Article 184(3) of the Constitution — until amendments are made to the Supreme Court Rules 1980 regarding the discretionary powers of the chief justice to form benches.

In a letter to the top court's registrar, the senior puisne judge said that the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) cannot issue administrative direction against the judicial order.

“I was astonished to receive your circular' bearing No. Registrar/2023/SCJ dated 31 March 2023. The circular purports to negate, undo, disobey and violate order dated 29 March 2023 of a three-member bench of the Supreme Court. passed in Suo Motu Case No. 4 of 2022. The Registrar does not have the power or authority to undo a judicial order, and the Chief Justice cannot issue administrative directions with regard thereto,” read the letter.

Slamming the registrar, he further wrote: “Your conduct demonstrates that you do not have the requisite competence, ability and understanding to hold the office of Registrar. Moreover, a bureaucrat holding the office of the Registrar violates Article 175(3) of the Constitution, which mandates the complete separation of the judiciary from the executive.

The senior judge asked the registrar to withdraw the circular immediately and inform all those who had set it, adding that it was in the best interest of him and that of the Supreme Court.

Justice Isa maintained that the circular refers to a decision of the SC (Suo Motu Case no. 4/2021, PLD 2022 Supreme Court 306), adding, “If you had read it you would have realised that it pertained to invoking powers under Article 184 (3) of the constitution (suo motu). However, in the subject case suo motu notice had not been taken by the bench before which it was listed for hearing on March 15, 2023. You lost sight of this obvious distinction and did not appreciate that the case cited in the circular was not applicable.”