SC dismisses Justice Isa's appeal seeking live streaming of review petitions

Published April 13, 2021
In this file photo, Justice Qazi Faez Isa addresses a conference organised by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association. —  DawnNewsTV/File
In this file photo, Justice Qazi Faez Isa addresses a conference organised by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association. — DawnNewsTV/File

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed Justice Qazi Faez Isa's application seeking permission for live streaming of the hearing of his review petitions.

A 10-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial issued the short order, with six judges voting to dismiss the appeal.

On March 18, the apex court had reserved its ruling on the application seeking permission for live streaming of the hearing of review petitions in Justice Isa's case against the SC's short order of June 19, 2020, and the detailed judgement on the filing of presidential reference against him.

During today's hearing, Justice Bandial read out the short order stating that the appeal had been rejected according to the majority decision.

"For reasons to be recorded later, this application is dismissed. However, the right of the people to have access to information in matters of public importance under Article 19-A of the Constitution is recognised, the details and modalities of which are to be decided by the full court on the administrative side," he said.

In the dissenting note, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said that Article 19-A of the Constitution created an obligation on state institutions to take the necessary measures to ensure the realisation of the fundamental rights of citizens to have access to information in matters of public importance.

"Cases under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, including review petitions and other matters arising therein, are matters of public importance, and the public has a right to know and see how proceedings in these cases are conducted and concluded by the Court.

"We, therefore, hold that live streaming (audio and video) of court hearings of these cases should be made available for information of the public through a link on the official website of this court," they said.

After the short order was read out, Justice Isa asked to know the names of the judges who had voted in favour and against his appeal. Justice Bandial replied that he would get an idea once he read the verdict and told the judge to present his arguments for the review petitions.

However, Justice Isa stated that he was not mentally prepared to give arguments.

Justice Isa's wife, Sarina Isa, lamented that no action was taken against Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudry and another government officeholder. "Yousuf Raza Gilani and others were sentenced for contempt of court but the registrar did not fix the contempt case against Chaudhry for hearing," she said.

Justice Isa also questioned why the contempt petitions were not fixed for hearing. "It is a matter of the court's honour," he said.

Justice Bandial replied that the contempt appeals would also be fixed for hearing once Justice Isa was mentally prepared for the arguments. The hearing was adjourned till tomorrow.

Last month, Sarina Isa had filed an application in the apex court for initiating contempt of court proceedings against Chaudhry over what she termed a "highly offensive" tweet.

In a tweet, Chaudhry had said that he had been "listening to the speeches of an undertrial judge (Justice Isa) of the Supreme Court for a week. If [I] answer, then lectures will start [ranging from] we are saddened to we have been insulted.

"Sir, if you too are fond of politics like your godfather Iftikhar Chaudhry (former chief justice of Pakistan), then resign and contest elections for the councillor. You will get to know about both [your] popularity and acceptance," he had further said.

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