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Tuesday August 16, 2022

Justice Isa urges CJP Bandial to remove incumbent registrar before he causes 'further harm'

Justice Isa terms proposal to provide vehicles to retired judges “embarrassing”, saying that proposing benefits for retired judges constitutes a violation of their oath

June 26, 2022
Justice Qazi Faez Isa. — Supreme Court of Pakistan
Justice Qazi Faez Isa. — Supreme Court of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa requested Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to remove Registrar Jawad Paul before he "causes the institution further and irreparable harm."

In a letter written to CJP Bandial, earlier this month that was obtained by Geo News, Justice Isa termed a proposal to provide vehicles to retired judges “embarrassing”, saying that proposing benefits for retired judges constitutes a violation of their oath, as what is proposed would directly benefit them after retirement.

Justice Isa mentioned that the last time the full court met was on December 12, 2019. “A number of important matters affecting the administration of justice need urgent resolution,” he said, blaming Registrar Paul to overlook these important matters, “choosing instead to focus his attention on diverting public resources.”

“He circulated for affirmation by the full court a proposal to provide vehicles to retired judges. I received this embarrassing proposal on June 1, 2022,” he said, adding that the same day he asked the registrar to ‘refer to the law, rule or regulation empowering the full court to do what is proposed.’

'Registrar shirked his responsibilities'

Justice Isa further told CJP Bandial that he received a long-winded nineteen-paragraph response (paras 30 to 48), but significantly, his query (paras 25 to 28) was not answered.

“The registrar substitutes meaningful content with verbosity,” he said.

In his letter, he also mentioned that the primary responsibility of the registrar is to ensure compliance with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Supreme Court Rules, 1980, and to better facilitate the administration of justice.

“If an idea or suggestion is put to him he must check if it accords with the law and if it does not then he must state this clearly, rather than forward a subordinate’s proposal,” he wrote, adding that the registrar has shirked his responsibilities and it appears that he would like judges to violate an integral component of their oath; ‘That I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions.’

“Our oath also requires judges to ‘abide by the code of conduct issued by the Supreme Judicial Council’. The proposal amounts to gaining an advantage by the use of one’s office. The code of conduct requires judges, ‘To be above reproach, and for this purpose to keep his conduct in all things, official and private, free from impropriety is expected of a judge’ (Article-IIl),” he mentioned.

'Registrar perceives himself to be unaccountable'

He further added that a judge must decline resolutely to act in a case involving his own interest. Moreover, the code of conduct also prohibits judges, “to employ the influence of his position to gain undue advantage, whether immediate or future’ which is categorised as a grave fault.”

Justice Isa acknowledged in the letter that the registrar, however, is correct to point out that at times full court meetings have decided to grant benefits to judges and that these “decisions” were acted upon by the government.

However, he asked CJP Bandial that the registrar needs to be reminded that the office he holds, and those held by judges, must not be “misused to acquire personal advantages and benefits”.

“It appears that the registrar perceives himself to be unaccountable,” he said, adding that the registrar also mistakenly assumes that he speaks for each and every judge of the Supreme Court, and had the temerity to represent them.

'Registrars undermines integrity of SC'

He also stated the registrar filed W P No 4284/2021 in the Islamabad High Court titled, ‘The registrar, Supreme Court of Pakistan v Pakistan Information Commission’, to resist disclosure of the information sought in respect of the Supreme Court. Justice Isa shared relevant portions from his letter of December 6 2021 which he wrote to then chief justice Gulzar Ahmed regarding the which included:

  • The judges of the Supreme Court had to be taken into confidence about this matter, but the first I learnt of it was from the media;
  • It was necessary to seek the opinion of all the judges prior to initiating legal action;
  • Before someone elects to represent another, he is required, legally, to seek written authorisation

“I have already, and repeatedly, pointed out how Jawad Paul who also serves as the Secretary of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, manipulates minutes of its meetings, and need not repeat this here,” Justice Isa warned.

“Jawad Paul has undermined the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court by fixing certain cases in Court for hearing immediately, and even at times when they are not numbered and/or and under objection,” he wrote, adding the pattern which emerges suggests that cases in which the now-former prime minister and/or his political party were/are interested were fixed for immediate hearing, but those against them were belatedly fixed or are yet be fixed.

“Hon’ble Chief Justice, I request you to remove the registrar before he causes the institution further and irreparable harm,” he said, mentioning that he is copying this letter to all concerned, and to the government as the registrar is a bureaucrat serving on deputation and his services are governed and controlled by applicable rules and regulations enacted by the government.