Drama at IHC over Tyrian White case judgment

Published May 10, 2023
A collage of IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani. — DawnNews
A collage of IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani. — DawnNews

Unprecedented drama was witnessed at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday over the Tyrian White case against former prime minister Imran Khan when the majority judgment of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Arbab Tahir dismissing the petition was deleted from the court’s website minutes after it was uploaded.

The majority judgment, authored by Justice Kayani and assented to by Justice Tahir, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, stated that the writ petition was “not maintainable from the very inception”.

It also deprecated the petitioner’s conduct in filing the petition, noting that “the petitioner should have been mindful of the fact that the court is not a tool to be used by surrogates motivated for extraneous consideration.”

A three-judge larger bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, and Jus­tice Arbab Muhammad Tahir had reserved its verdict on March 30 on the petition seeking Imran’s disqualification for concealing his alleged daughter Tyrian White in his nomination forms submitted to contest the 2018 general election.

In the judgment uploaded to the court’s website, Justice Kayani had appended two “office notes”. The first note, dated May 2, said that “a draft judgment” was received by Justice Kayani from Chief Justice Farooq, to which the former did not assent. Consequently, Justice Kayani said, a separate verdict was authored by him which was concurred to by Justice Tahir and was submitted for announcement by May 3.

In the second note, dated May 9, Justice Kayani said that the majority judgment was “transmitted” to the chief justice along with a note to list the case for announcement on May 3.

Despite that, Justice Kayani noted, the case has not been listed to date, adding that “speculations were widely shared on social media regarding [the] judgment”.

He directed the registrar to “release the judgment of two members bench today i.e. 09.05.2023 by all means and submit a compliance report forthwith”, saying that any further delay in releasing the judgment “could cause aspersion on the outcome of the case and impugn the confidentiality and integrity of the court process and public from the independence of the court”.

CJ dissolves bench, orders rehearing of case

Not long after the majority judgment was deleted from the court’s website, a press release was issued by the court, stating that the “opinion” of the two judges did not constitute judgment of the court and is against court rules and norms.

It said the opinion of the judges was released without the issuance of a cause list or intimation to the parties and their counsels. It further said that the signature of Chief Justice Farooq, who is the third member of the bench, was also missing from it.

It said that the chief justice has reconstituted the bench for rehearing the case, adding that action is also being taken against those responsible for uploading the opinion without the issuance of a cause list.

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