Source: Pakistan and Future
It was not the prettiest day at Supreme Court yesterday and it was not today either. As I wrote yesterday that for me the most important reason for CJ to opt out from the bench was absence of Aitzaz Ahsan from this “important” constitutional case. The case is not “important” on its own merit , in fact as I said this case should have been thrown by the registrar office instead of putting it in front of a “Full Court”. This case has become important because the honorable judges want to hear it. Somehow I feel that some of the judges have taken into their head that hearing the petition against 18th amendment is like hearing the case against PCO.
But I would like to discuss the objections raised by the (now) former Federation Counsel Dr. Abdul Basit. Although media has ridiculed those objections and even attorney general has also opposed the objection on formation of the full court , however I think there could be valid and even strong reasons behind these objections.
1. Composition of the Full Court: The objection against the composition of the full court was based on the fact that Mr. Justice Zahid Hussain was not part of the bench and he is at the moment a sitting judge of the Supreme Court albiet he has been made “non-functional” (does that ring any bells), by the honorable Chief Justice IMC. I agree that it does not matter at all whether if the court has 17 or 18 judges and whether it is called full bench or a larger bench. And I am sure Abdul Basit did not (in reality) want Zahid Hussain to be included the bench , however the point he wanted to make was that there is a judge in the supreme court who is at the moment “non-functional” despite the judgment of 20th July. And point was very well made. Remember the maxim “Come with clean hands”…
2. Chief Justice in the Bench: This was the most important objection. There are two sound reasons behind this , however I was smiling when CJ said only if his son was becoming the justice then he would benefit from this case that was indeed childish.
The first reason to me is that no judge can be the judge on his own cause. The office of Chief Justice of Pakistan has been affected be the 18th amendment where the discretion of Chief Justice in the appointment of fellow judges have been impacted. We know that how in case of Justice Ramday and Khawaja Sharif , Chief Justice asserted his authority and discretion in the appointment of these judges. And this is a very valid reason for the CJ to take himself out from this bench. Now you will see the reason behind the first objection too. If we call this bench a larger bench and not a full court due to the absence of Mr. Zahid Hussain then even 16 judges are as good (or in this case as bad) as 17 judges….