Audio leaks: Justica Isa-led judicial commission stops functioning
1.Justice Qazi Faez Isa
Justice Qazi Faez Isa raises concerns about a stay order issued by the Supreme Court regarding the audio leaks commission.On Saturday, Justice Qazi Faez Isa put a stop to the work of the high-powered audio leaks panel that was established by the federal government. However, he raised issues over the stay order that the Supreme Court had placed on the investigation being conducted by the committee.Leaks of audio indicate that the judicial panel led by Justica Isa has stopped operating.The panel, which is comprised of the Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court Aamer Farooq as well as the Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court Naeem Akhtar Afghan, held its first hearing on May 22. During this hearing, the commission announced that the proceedings of its investigation will be made public.
2. five-person bench
In spite of this, a five-person bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and consisting of Justices Ijazul Ahsan, Munib Akhtar, Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Shahid Waheed issued orders to halt the commission’s activities.The ruling was made in response to a group of petitions that were submitted by President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Abid Shahid Zuberi, Secretary of the SCBA Muqtedir Akhtar Shabbir, Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan, and Advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi, all of whom asked that the formation of the panel be ruled illegal.
Attorney General of Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan appeared before the commission at the commencement of the hearing and read the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.Justice Isa, upon hearing the order, stated, “According to the rules of the Supreme Court, a decision is taken after listening to the parties.”The commission, he added, should be given a copy of the order.When asked if the highest court had issued an order concerning the inquiry commission, he added, “I also know a little about the constitution.”When asked why the commission wasn’t consulted, he pointed out that it was a party to the case.The chief justice then questioned the AGP about his presence in the courtroom the day before.
In addition, he made the observation that privacy is a property right of the home, responding to one of the primary concerns stated in the petitions submitted to the SC yesterday.”You can’t look through someone’s window, but those CCTV cameras in the streets…are they also violating people’s right to privacy?” Inquired he.When asked about potential privacy invasions, he assured the public that the commission was not engaging in any such activities.He made a statement on how PTI attorney Shoaib Shaheen and Zuberi, who have both been served notices in connection with the inquiry into the audio leaks, failed to appear before the panel.
5.Authority of high courts
Today’s session also addressed the Supreme Court’s pronouncement from yesterday that “the subject matter of the reference transcends any particular high court.”As Justice Isa pointed out in this case, “high courts are not subordinate to the Supreme Court,” and the highest court cannot exercise jurisdiction over lower courts.Justice Isa ruled that the Supreme Court’s ruling would apply to lower courts and the executive branch but not to itself.He remarked that the five-judge panel had examined federalism before deciding on the case at hand.Additionally, he stated, “The Supreme Court annulled several decisions of the high courts; apparently federalism was destroyed.”
After that, Justice Isa had the AGP administer the judge’s oath.He said, “As the oath requires, I will carry out my responsibilities in accordance with the Constitution and the Law.”Continuing, he said, “This inquiry commission has been formed under a law — the Commission of Inquiry Act,” and that everyone has to deal with unpleasant tasks.He went on to say, “If this commission was not allowed under oath, I would have excused myself,” implying that he would have withdrawn from the proceedings if the judges were compensated for conducting the “painful investigations.”After reviewing the order issued by the highest court, he stated, “The petitioners are telling us that there is an injunction, you cannot hear this [inquiry].” Thus, we will not be taking any further action at this time.