- SC bench headed by CJP releases its reserved verdict
- The bench suspends notification of commission formation
- Notification of commission will remain suspended till next hearing
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has stopped the Audio Leak Commission from working and suspended the notification of the commission formation.
The SC five-member bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has released its reserved verdict, consisting of eight pages.
The written verdict said that the notification of the commission would remain suspended till the next hearing, which will take place on May 31.
Earlier on the day, he Supreme Court of Pakistan reserved its verdict on the heard petitions filed against the formation of a judicial inquiry commission to investigate the audio leaks.
The case has been adjourned while CJP remarked that he will issue a short order for today’s hearing.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial said that only the chief justice had the power to nominate a Supreme Court (SC) judge for inquiry commissions.
A day prior, CJP Bandial constituted a bench to conduct hearings on petitions filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.
Among the challengers of the petitions are Imran Khan, the Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir, Advocate Riaz Hanif, and Abid Shah Zubairi, the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Chief Justice Bandial leads the bench, accompanied by Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi, and Justice Shahid Waheed.
During the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan requested Chief Justice Bandial to excuse himself, leading to a strong reaction from the Chief Justice.
AGP Awan stated, 'It is requested that the chief justice should not be a part of this bench.'
Chief Justice Bandial responded, asking if the request meant for him to leave the bench and warned against interfering with their administrative authority.
“Don’t interfere with our administrative powers,” Justice Bandial told the AGP. “We have complete respect for the government,” he said, adding that the judiciary was the protector of basic human rights.
He emphasized the constitutional position of the chief justice and the separation of powers, stating that the judiciary is the protector of basic human rights while respecting the government.
Chief Justice Bandial expressed dissatisfaction with the government's hasty decision to regulate the chief justice's powers through legislation and questioned the formation of the judicial panel without his consultation.
He mentioned previous instances where consultations were necessary and highlighted the need for the government to follow the Constitution according to its spirit.
The AGP mentioned that consultations were not required under the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 2017, prompting the CJP to express concern about attempts to create a rift between judges and warned against government interference in the affairs of the Supreme Court.
The CJ advised the AGP to resolve the matter before the court could provide assistance and stressed the importance of respecting institutions, including the judiciary.
He mentioned that resolving matters according to the Constitution would eliminate objections.
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