ISLAMABAD: While the Islamabad High Court (IHC) chief justice dissolved a three-member bench hearing the Tyrian White case before reconstituting it, opinions of two judges were uploaded on official website of the court on Wednesday in a move that the registrar office termed against rules when neither a judgement had been pronounced nor cause list issued for its announcement.

Shortly after removal of the 31-page opinion from the website as soon as news of a court ‘order’ in the case pertaining to the alleged daughter of PTI chairman Imran Khan flashed on TV screens, the IHC registrar office issued a clarification.

“Without the announcement of judgement or issuance of cause list for announcement or otherwise intimation to parties and their counsel and without the sign of third member (honourable chief justice), the opinion of two judges was uploaded alone with office notes, which does not constitute judgement of the court and is against the rules and the norms,” the registrar office explained.

The statement announced, “The honourable chief justice has reconstituted the bench for rehearing of the case”, adding that “action is also being taken against those responsible for uploading the opinion without issuance of cause list”.

Opinions of two judges uploaded on court website in violation of rules, says registrar

Even court reporters were unaware of the sudden upload of the ‘decision’ of the two judges until Ahmed Pansota, the counsel for Mr Khan in the Tyrian White case, tweeted the case had been dismissed by a majority of 2 to 1. The reporters, who were present at the IHC, received frantic calls from newsrooms to ascertain the veracity of the development.

It emerged later that the ‘incomplete order’ had been uploaded on the IHC website and a few reporters also managed to download the 31-page ‘decision’ of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Arbab Mohammad Tahir.

Sources privy to the development said the opinions were posted on website as soon as the chief justice had ordered reconstitution of the bench, after recusing himself from hearing the case.

In his nomination papers and affidavits filed for elections, Mr Khan did not disclose that he had arranged for his alleged daughter Tyrian White’s upkeep in the UK, according to the petition moved by one Sajid Mehmood.

In a separate note released for the registrar, Justice Kayani explained the “judgement has been authored and finalised which was transmitted to Hon’ble Chief Justice, even a note in this regard has been sent on May 2, 2023 to my lord the Hon’ble Chief Justice with request to list the case for announcement on May 3, 2023, despite whereof, case has not yet been listed till date [May 09].”

In his opinion, the judge also stated, “Therefore any further delay in release of the judgement singed by two members of the bench who constitute a majority, 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.”

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2023

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