Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Saturday said the way the Supreme Court’s bench was suffering from apparent “division and fragmentation” was not good for the “reputation and image of the judiciary”.
In a statement, the federal minister regretted that a 9-member bench was reduced to 3 members. She was referring to the bench constituted by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial after a suo-motu notice related to holding elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The same bench was shrunk to five in reconstitution after the outcry against certain honourable judges of the Supreme Court. Later the Supreme Court, in an appeal filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf challenging the postponement of elections till October 8 by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), once again constituted a five-member bench and after the recusal of the two judges was left with three judges who would continue to hold proceedings on Monday.
“Clearly, this [newly-constituted] bench has lost its majority and impartiality. If the bench becomes controversial before the verdict, it is not justice,” she said, urging a full-court bench of the apex court to shelve any controversy.
The minister maintained that once again the request of the full court bench by the government and bar council was rejected. “We request the apex court to reconsider the formation of the full court bench,” the minister added to ensure transparency and acceptability of the verdict by all the political stakeholders.
“The solution to this crisis lies in the display of collective wisdom of the court. The decision of the 3-judge bench could not be the collective wisdom of the court,” the minister viewed.
To the purported division in the top court, the minister also suggested that honourable judges should sit together to remove internal divisions and disputes.
“The court should not miss this opportunity to restore its reputation and image of impartiality,” Sherry Rehman contended.