CJP Isa overshadows his predecessor’s entire tenure

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa has achieved a great deal in his first week in office – so much so that even his predecessor Justice Umar Ata Bandial could not accomplish during his entire tenure.

Throughout his time as the top judge, Justice Bandial could not summon a full court meeting. Likewise, despite several requests, he did not form a full court on any constitutional matter.

CJP Isa took both the steps on the very first day of his tenure.

He held a full court meeting last Monday.

Similarly, a full court was constituted to hear the petitions challenging the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023.

Earlier, the previous ruling alliance was requesting ex-CJP Bandial to form a full court to hear this matter but he was reluctant to proceed with the move.

CJP Isa also created the history by placing the suggestion in the full court about the live streaming of its proceedings.

Most of the judges approved his suggestion and the proceedings of the full court were telecast on TV.

Perhaps CJP Isa is the first institution head, who himself offered to devolve his discretionary powers.

On CJP Isa’s desire, it was decided that he would form benches in consultation with the two senior-most SC judges.
Now, a weekly cause list is being issued in consultation with both the senior-most judges.

During the full court hearing, CJP Isa openly criticised the “misuse” of public interest jurisdiction under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.

The most interesting part is that while heading the full court, Justice Isa questioned former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s judgment in the Reko Diq case, wherein the country faced a $6.5 billion penalty.

Throughout the week, CJP Isa has shown a graceful attitude towards other judges, said a senior lawyer.

This was also reflected in the written order issued by the full court last week.

CJP Isa along with senior puisne judge Justice Sardar Tariq Masood also held a meeting with the representatives of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to discuss the apex court’s disposal rate.

After consulting with both the lawyers’ bodies, CJP Isa decided to issue a monthly proposed cause list.
The legal fraternity has welcomed this decision.

It has been learnt that CJP Isa had decided to implement the case management policy proposed by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Munib Akhtar.

This case management policy was pending in ex-CJP Bandial’s chamber for more than a year but he did not approve it.

Lawyers are wondering why the policy was not given the nod by Justice Bandial during his tenure as the top judge.
CJP Isa has fixed some crucial matters for hearing this week.

Review petitions against Justice Isa’s judgment in the Faizabad Dharna case have been fixed for hearing on September 28. A three-judge bench, led by CJP Isa himself, will take up the review pleas.

It will be interesting to witness whether or not CJP Isa will seek a report on the implementation of the judgment.
This case’s proceedings will be significant to determine what CJP Isa is thinking about the role of ‘powerful circles’ in national politics.

The new top judge also listed a petition for the disclosure of SC’s staff details on September 27.

However, CJP Isa has yet to fix sensitive cases including the trial of civilians in military courts and holding of general elections within 90 days.

He has also yet to initiate the process for the appointment of two SC judges.  It is still unclear whether or not the criteria will be evolved on the appointment of judges first.

His most daunting task will be about activation of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on the complaints of misconduct against superior court judges.

It will be interesting to see how CJP Isa will proceed against the judges, who are in the other camp of the apex court.

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