Friday April 12, 2024

Justice Isa’s case: Federal govt opposes live broadcast of review petition

By Sohail Khan
March 09, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Monday opposed the live broadcast of the review petition filed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa against the apex court judgment of June 19, 2020 to the extent of directions given to the Federal Board of Revenue after the full court quashed the Presidential Reference filed against the judge.

A 10-member larger bench, headed by Justice Umer Ata Bandial, heard the application in review petition filed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa seeking live broadcast of the proceedings. Other members of the bench included Justice Maqbool Baqir, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Amin Uddin Khan.

In pursuance of the court’s last order, Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Aamir Rehman opposed the live broadcast of the review petition filed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa. He pleaded the court to declare non-maintainable the plea of Justice Isa seeking live broadcast of proceedings of his review petition, contending that law permits only open court proceedings but not live broadcast. Justice Muneeb Akhtar observed that even today, the proceedings are being held in an open court.

The additional attorney general submitted that there was no concept of filing any application by invoking Article 184(3) of the Constitution in the review petition. To substantiate his stance, Aamir Rehman submitted that it was the media’s right to claim for live broadcast but not any party, adding that no journalist or any media house has so far approached the apex court for live broadcast of the review petition.

Justice Umer Ata Banidal observed that the petitioner has stated that there were restrictions on the media adding that the judge has relied on international courts’ judgments pertaining to live broadcast of the court’s proceedings.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, another member of the bench, observed that utilizing the technology is quite helpful for many matters of court proceedings, adding that it is technology through which now the apex court hears arguments of lawyers from other cities through video link.

“The federal government should not tell us as what to do as it is the court’s jurisdiction to decide about the live broadcast, not the federal government, and your job is to assist us”, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah told the additional attorney general.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar said that no litigant has the right to ask the court as to what to do about live broadcast. Additional Attorney General Aamir Rehman said that it is the stance of the federal government that live broadcast is not a judicial but an administrative and policy matter.

It is pertinent to mention here that on the last hearing, Justice Umer Ata Bandial had repeatedly observed that live broadcast is not a judicial but an administrative and policy matter. Justice Bandial had also observed that the matter could be placed before a full court for consideration.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah observed that we are living in a global village, adding that nothing is secret in court’s proceedings.

“The apex court is the court of public of this country, so how a person sitting in Gwadar can be restrained from watching the court’s proceedings,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah questioned. “Nothing that sort of happens in court which cannot be heard, therefore, the world must know as to what we are doing in the courts,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah remarked.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar observed that only 10 judges are sitting on this bench hearing the instant matter in the absence of six other judges.

“How can we allow live broadcast of the instant matter without the consent of the other six judges and if we give the order, it will be then binding upon the other six judges,” Justice Muneeb Akhtar remarked.

Replying to the plea of Justice Qazi Faez Isa other day’s remarks that justice not only be done buts seems to be done, Additional Attorney General Aamir Rehman said that justice seems to be done means that the court’s decision should be impartial but it does not mean that the court’s proceedings should be live broadcast, so that decisions could be witnessed. Justice Muneeb Akhtar observed that the open court’s proceedings are conducted, so that justice could be seen there.

Meanwhile, Justice Qazi Faez Isa told the court that the government was bent upon suppressing the media adding that now the government will target the U-tubers.

The judge said that he has been openly maligned and propagated against through controlled media adding that if the proceedings of his review petition are broadcast live, people of the country will be able know as to what the facts are and what the truth is as well.

Justice Isa said that in the year 2019, Shahzad Akbar in his press conference subjected him to character assassination but now he (Shahzad Akbar) is so freightened that he does not come to the court.

Justice Umer Ata Bandial told Justice Isa that he cannot meet him privately, otherwise, he would have tell him (Justice Isa) as to what was being highlighted in the media in his favor as well. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until March 17.