Sunday March 26, 2023

Govt opposes Justice Isa’s plea for live coverage of review petition

March 18, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Additional Attorney General (AAG) Aamir Rehman on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court (SC) that the federal government would oppose Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s request for live broadcast of the review petition proceedings.

A 10-member SC larger bench, comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Aminuddin Khan, heard the review petition seeking removal of paragraphs 2 to 11 of the June 19, 2020 verdict.

On June 19, 2020, seven judges of a 10-judge bench quashed a presidential reference against Justice Isa but also ordered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct an inquiry into the judge’s family members’ foreign assets and submit a report to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

During the course of proceedings, Aamir Rehman, while objecting the live broadcast of the case, said live coverage would lead to a public debate on the conduct of judges. “Judges speak through their decisions, not on television,” he added. He said it was feared that court decisions in live coverage would not be legal but would be based on popularity.

Addressing the AAG, Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that his arguments were strong and need to be reviewed. The AAG said media houses would not be able to take a stand on either side due to their institutional policy. He said Justice Qazi Faez Isa argued that live broadcasts would educate the people. He asked if law students did not learn from books, what would they learn from live broadcasts? He said the justice delivered by the judges reaches the people through decisions. Showing court proceedings on television would cause many problems, he added.

He said media representatives were present in the courtroom to convey the proceedings of the SC to the public. Media representatives conveyed court proceedings to the public in simple language, he added. He said there was no justification for direct action in the presence of media representatives. He said judges had special powers in the courtroom. He pleaded the court to reject Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s request to show the proceedings of the case live.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa, in his arguments, said freedom of the media was being compromised. Justice Bandial said court proceedings were recorded in the United States of America (USA). Sarina Isa, wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, alleging government machinery misusing its authority, said the property she bought with her own money was turned into her husband’s overnight. Later, hearing of the case was adjourned until Thursday.