ISLAMABAD: Speaking for the last time at a ceremony marking the commencement of the new judicial year on Monday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said that the court was tested several times in February 2023 with matters pertaining to the Constitution of Pakistan.
He added that he did not want to repeat all that has happened but it is reflected in part in the decision for the audio leaks case.
Commenting on his differences with incoming CJP Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Bandial maintained that the latter was an admirable man.
The media is the eyes and ears of society, said the CJP, but, he added, incorrect reports were published about him. He referred to the use of his phrases “good to see you” and “short and sweet” and said they were taken out of context. He doesn’t hold this against the media, he added.
The outgoing CJP said that this might be his last address as the chief justice, and mentioned that the ongoing political situation has also affected judicial performance.
Commenting on the performance of the apex court, CJP Bandial said that the SC disposed of 23,000 cases in the past year, breaking a previous record of disposing of 18,000 cases in one year.
He added that he had wished to reduce the number of pending cases by 50,000 but managed to address only 2,000 cases from the backlog.
Justice Bandial took office as CJP in February 2022 and is due to retire on September 16, 2023. The Supreme Court has been marred with controversies this year against the backdrop of a political crisis which has garnered the attention of international media and much uncertainty surrounding the next general elections.
The top court has decisions pending in several political and constitutional cases as CJP Bandial begins his last week in office.
Under his tenure, the top court has been criticized by mainstream political parties, especially the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for extending “undue favours” to the beleagured Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.