Govt scared of truth that is why it is opposing live broadcast, says Justice Isa | The Express Tribune


Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Monday said that that the federal government was scared of the truth, therefore it was opposing his application for a live broadcast of his review petition against June 19 order.

The Supreme Court (SC) resumed the hearing of Justice Isa application seeking the apex court permission to allow live TV coverage of the proceedings of his review petition against the majority judgment that had referred the matter of his family’s properties to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for inquiry.

A 10-member full-court presided by Justice Omar Atabandial heard the case. He questioned the maintainability of applications by saying that the SC while hearing the review petition, can not decide this matter.

“it’s not judicial matter but also a policy issue and same can only be decided in full court meeting on the administrative side,” the apex judge added

During the proceedings, Justice Isa said prayed that his life has been under a microscope for the last two years. “Now I want to public it but they (government) do not want to do so,” the Justice added.

He prayed that the government wanted a controlled media therefore people are going on social media platforms like You Tube.

Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman prayed before the court that the federal government declared Justice Faiz Issa’s petition inadmissible

“Review requests cannot be pleased to be broadcasted live,” the AAG added. “[Section] 184/3 cannot be applied in the review case.”

He added that no new position can be taken in the review case whereas the law mentions open court hearings and not media coverage.

The AAG added that no media house requested a live broadcast of the proceedings.

Justice Faiz Issa says there are restrictions on media, Justice Omar Atabandial remarked on which the AAG said that the apex court has always spoken of freedom of the media but never ruled that live coverage of hearings was media’s right.

“Justice Faiz Isa depends on the decisions of foreign courts, Justice Atabandial said.

Another bench member Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said that technology has helped the court in many matters Hearing on the video link was also by the virtue of technology.

“The federal government should not tell us what to do,” the apex judge said adding that live broadcasts are the prerogative of the court, not the federal government.

“The government’s position is that it is not a judicial matter but a matter of the management of the Supreme Court,” the AAG argued.

If the government does not have the authority to tell us, then no one has the right to ask, Justice Muneeb Akhtar said adding that the hearing is still being held in open court.

“There is a difference between live coverage of court proceedings and parliamentary proceedings,” the AAD pleaded and added that debate in Parliament is general and in courts, it is technical whereas the language used in court proceedings is not common.

Justice Shah remarked that we live in a global village and have to keep up with the world.

“There is nothing secret about court proceedings,” he added. “The Supreme Court is the court of the people of this country. There is no point in sitting with your neck in the ground like an ostrich. The public should know if anyone is insulting a lawyer or a judge.”

The apex court adjourned the hearing till March 17.

Read more: Govt to oppose Justice Isa’s live broadcast plea

Earlier on March 4, the SC bench issued a notice to the government on Justice Isa’s review petition as well as his application requesting a live broadcast of his case.

During the hearing, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, a member of the bench, said that science and technology should be welcomed to bring transparency to the justice system.

He observed that science and technology had played a great role in improving and ensuring transparency in the system.

The judge also referred to innovation in DNA research, as hundreds of convictions had been overturned. Likewise, cameras were installed in the district courts for supervision. However, Justice Shah wondered about the downside of live coverage of court proceedings.

According to Justice Isa, two members of a bench could negate administrative decision taken by the full court. However, he said that the court should keep in mind that a decision by the 10-judge larger bench cannot be overturned by a full court from the administrative view.

Justice Isa while referring to the judges’ code of conduct said that justice should not only be carried out but should be done.

He described the judgment in the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto murder case as the “most controversial” and also referred to Justice Naseem Hassan Shah’s interview wherein he had revealed that there was pressure by the government to issue a verdict against the PPP leader.

The senior judge said that if a recording of the case was available, it could also be used for educational purposes.

“Why [do] we bury history,” he asked the bench. At this, another member of the bench Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik urged him to avoid referring to the judgments that could be cited before them in a case.

Later, Justice Isa wondered if a judge could be maligned publicly and asked why their case could be heard publicly.

He noted that the main stakeholders of the justice system were the litigants and highlighted that the live coverage was beneficial for education, ensuring discipline and improving the quality of the justice system.

When Justice Isa referred to a question as to what “establishment” was Justice Bandial replied that it was a political argument. However, Justice Isa responded by saying that it was not a political question but an avoidance of the truth. The SC judge also lamented that military dictators ruled the country for 35 years.

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