ISLAMABAD: A Lahore-based lawyer filed a petition before the Supreme Court on Monday seeking contempt of court proceedings against Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood for “refusing” to hear petitions against the trial of civilians in military courts.

The petitioner cited the two judges and the state as respondents.

The petition stated that these judges were “bound to perform judicial and administrative work” entrusted to them by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), but they refused to hear the petitions on the ground that a case regarding the CJP’s suo motu powers was pending before the apex court.

The CJP had formed a nine-judge bench on June 21 to hear appeals against the trial of civilians by military courts. But when proceedings began the next day, Justice Qazi Faez Isa said a dispute over the CJP’s powers to form benches be settled first. Justice Masood endorsed his view.

The bench was thus reduced to seven judges. Its strength fell further after Justice Mansoor Ali Shah recused himself following the government’s objections.

Justice Isa’s statement, which was uploaded on the SC’s website but later removed, said it was necessary to explain that since April 14, when enforcement of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act was suspended, he had chosen not to sit on the bench.

In his note, Justice Masood endorsed Justice Isa’s point of view. He said Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial had not consulted him before including his name in the bench.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2023

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