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Thursday December 02, 2021

Only CJP can take suo motu notices, rules SC

August 27, 2021
Only CJP can take suo motu notices, rules SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the suo motu notice, taken by Justice Qazi Faez Isa on an application regarding harassment of journalists and held that the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) is the sole authority for invoking the original jurisdiction enshrined in the Constitution under Article 184(3).

A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by acting Chief Justice Umer Ata Bandial, announced a short order pertaining to the invocation of suo motu jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Other members of the bench included Justice Ijazul Ahsen, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar.

On August 23, the court had ‘held in abeyance’, the order passed by a two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel on August 20 on an application placed before the bench regarding harassment of journalists.

The court held that the CJP is the sole authority by and through whom the said jurisdiction can be, and is to be, invoked/assumed. The court further held that the chief justice may invoke/assume the said jurisdiction in his discretion and shall do so whenever a bench recommends.

“No bench may take any step or make any order (whether in any pending proceedings or otherwise) as would or could constitute exercise of the suo motu jurisdiction (such as, but not limited to, the issuance of any notice, making any enquiry or summoning any person or authority or any report) unless and until the chief justice has invoked/assumed the said jurisdiction,” says the court order.

The court held that all matters already pending in respect of, or involving, the suo motu jurisdiction of the court shall, notwithstanding para 1 continue to be heard and disposed of by such benches as are constituted from time to time by the chief justice.

“In view of the above, the order dated 20.08.2021 stands recalled. SMC No.4 of 2021 and all filings therein shall stand disposed of,” the court noted in its order. The court held that substantive claims made by the Press Association of Supreme Court and others in the application presented in court on 20.08.2021 shall be placed before the Chief Justice of Pakistan for consideration.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that in pursuance of the court’s order, the application of Press Association of Supreme Court was put up before the acting chief justice of Pakistan. The order passed by the larger bench on August 23 held that there is a settled practice of this court regarding the entertainment of suo motu actions on the recommendation made by benches of the court during judicial proceedings pending before them.

On August 20, a two-member bench comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel on an application regarding harassment of journalists had taken suo motu notice and had summoned the DG FIA over his department allegedly harassing media personnel. The court had also summoned IG Police Islamabad and secretary Ministry of Interior in person along with reports. The court had sought complete record pertaining to attacks on journalists as well as progress report pertaining to their cases as well.