The Supreme Court of Pakistan has barred a three-member commission of inquiry into audio leaks from functioning.
A five-member larger bench of the Apex Court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar reserved its verdict on the petitions filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan and others against a three-member judicial commission probing the alleged audio leaks.
The Supreme Court suspended the notification of the formation of the commission and ruled in its decision that the consultation of the Chief Justice was necessary for the inclusion of judges in the commission.
The Supreme Court issued notice to the attorney general and adjourned the hearing of the case till May 31.
During the hearing of the petitions, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial termed the formation of a commission of inquiry into the audio leak as a violation of Article 209.
Hearing on audio leaks judicial commission’s petitions:
Earlier, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the legislation to regulate the powers of the Chief Justice was done in haste, if the government had consulted, they would have shown a better way.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that the government was creating differences among the judges, how can they choose judges for their own purposes.
A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Ijazul Ahsan, Shahid Waheed and Justice Hassan Azhar Rizvi heard the petitions.
Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial questioned how the action was taken without consulting the Chief Justice. “There was no consultation in the Commission of Inquiry Act 1956, it is a practice, the judge will be nominated by the Chief Justice for the commission, three such notifications were withdrawn,” he added.
Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan said that this matter can be resolved, to which the Chief Justice said that “if it is so, then go and solve it, and we will also help you.”
Attorney General Mansoor Usman Awan said that if the law used to say a bench of five judges, then why were there no five judges?
The Chief Justice remarked that the government has violated the distribution of powers, it seems that the inquiry commission has done everything in a hurry, how can the judges become part of the commission of their own free will.
“Attempts were made to give cover by using sweet words and apparently there was a serious violation of the constitutional principle of distribution of powers”, he furthered.
Justice Muneeb Akhtar said that this is a very disturbing situation.
The larger bench of the Supreme Court had reserved the verdict after completing the hearing on the Audio Leaks Inquiry Commission, the court said that it would issue a short order in the case.
Constitution of larger bench:
Earlier in the day, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial constituted a five-member larger bench to hear petitions filed against the commission probing the alleged audio leaks.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan, President Supreme Court Bar Abid Zubeiri, Riaz Hanif Rahi and Muqtadar Shabbir have filed a petition against the judicial commission.