A much-talking judge i.e. besura baaja

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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A much-talking judge

A much-talking judge i.e. besura baaja

By Justice Markandey Katju

A former Lord Chancellor of England, Francis Bacon (1561-1626), said that a much-talking judge is like an ill-tuned cymbal (i.e. besura baaja)

This remark, though made centuries ago, can be best ascribed to the present Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa.

Qazi Faez Isa talks in Court incessantly, hardly permitting the counsel appearing before him to speak a sentence or two before interruption. I have seen him on videos on youtube several times, the latest being the ongoing hearing in the appeal against the Peshawar High Court decision in the bat symbol case. He talks on and on, often making irrelevant and frivolous remarks.

A Judge's job is to listen, and the lawyer's job is to speak. But in Qazi Faez Isa's court this process is usually reversed. Qazi Faez Isa, who is obviously very fond of his voice, must speak, while the lawyer must listen.

Once while on a visit to England I went to the High Court there to witness the proceedings. There was pin drop silence in the courtroom and an atmosphere of serenity, tranquillity, and calm. The lawyer was arguing in a low voice, and the judge was patiently hearing. Occasionally the judge asked a question to clarify some point, that too in a low voice, but that was all. This is what court proceedings should be like.

But in Qazi Faez Isa's case, his courtroom is a place where he must dominate and speak most of the time. There is no cool and calm atmosphere, and instead lawyers and others must hear his lectures.

I had said earlier in an interview to a Pakistani journalist, Waqar Bagga, that Qazi Faez Isa does not know how to behave in court, and that he will create a lot of trouble in future.

My prediction has proved true. Already he has forced two judges of the Pakistan Supreme Court who did not toe his line ( one of whom, Justice ijaz ul Ahsan, who was going to be the next Chief Justice of Pakistan in October this year ) to resign

In the present ongoing bat symbol case, the appeal of the Election Commission of Pakistan should been promptly dismissed as not maintainable, as the ECP had no locus standi as it had no personal grievance

But Qazi Faez Isa obviously bears a grudge against former Prime Minister Imran Khan at whose instance a reference had been made against him to the Pakistan Supreme Judicial Council in respect of assets in England in the name of his wife. So he is determined to reverse the order of the Peshawar High Court and decide against Imran Khan's PTI party.

This is obvious from the manner he is conducting the case and the observations he has made so far.

As I said in a letter to him, he is neither a Qazi, nor Faez nor Isa

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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