Two and a half cheers for the Pakistan Supreme Court

Justice Markandey Katju
Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju

I had earlier written an article which was published in nayadaur.tv in which I had said that Justice Qazi Faez Isa, judge of the Pakistan Supreme Court, is an upright and independent judge, and was only being hounded because of his judgment in the Faizabad dharna case in which he had.severely criticised the Pakistan Government, the Tehreeke Labbaik, and the ISI and some military personnel for not keeping away from politics ( as their oath required ) :

The Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, whom many regard ‘selected’, has always tried to please the army, and perhaps for this reason he advised the Pakistan President to file a reference against Justice Isa before the Supreme Judicial Council. This reference was challenged before the Pakistan Supreme Court, which declared it illegal. However, after having so declared, the Court, surprisingly enough by a 7-3 majority went on to order the Federal Board of Revenue to inquire into certain property transactions of Justice Isa’s wife.

This order for an investigation by the FBI against Justice Isa’s wife was clearly uncalled for and unwarranted. The Supreme Court was only called upon  to consider whether the Presidential reference was valid or not. Once it found it to be invalid, it became functus officio, and it should have stopped there. Its order to the FBI was clearly extraneous, unwarranted and beyond its jurisdiction.

A review petition was filed against this unwarranted and extraneous order, and by its 6-4 verdict today the Supreme Court has rightly struck it down, and thus put a quietus to the whole ugly and unsavoury episode. .

Justice Isa has emerged with flying colours. But one must regret the behaviour of Prime Minister Imran Khan who to prove his allegiance to the army is trying to be more loyal than the king. One must also regret the behaviour of some of the judges on the bench who were deliberately rude and offensive to a brother judge.

Having said that, we must declare : two and a half cheers for the Pakistan Supreme Court !

(Justice Markandey Katju is former Chairman, Press Council of India and former Judge, Supreme Court of India.)

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