Two and a half cheers for the Pakistan Supreme Court

Justice Markandey Katju-

Justice Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.

I had earlier written an article which was published in 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 criticized the Pakistan Government, the Tehreeke Labbaik ( who are nothing but bigoted thugs ), and the ISI and military personnel for not keeping away from politics ( as their oath required ) :
Justice Isa has been a judge of the Pakistan Supreme Court since 2014, and is in line of becoming the Chief Justice of Pakistan in 2023 by dint of seniority. In view of the fact that he is fiercely independent and upright, many people in the Pakistan Establishment would not like that.
The Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, whom many regard ‘selected’, has always tried to please the army, as he knows that the real power in Pakistan will always be with the army.  To prove his loyalty to the army he advised Pakistan President Arif Alvi to file a reference against Justice Isa before the Supreme Judicial Council, ( the body which decides allegations against judges). This reference was challenged by Justice Isa before the Pakistan Supreme Court, which declared it illegal.
However, after having so declared, the Supreme 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 Sarina.
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 directing the investigation of Mrs Isa’s property transactions 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. The effort to blacken the name of one of the most upright judges in Pakistan has miserably failed. But one must regret the behaviour of Prime Minister Imran Khan who to prove his allegiance to the army tried to be more loyal than the king. Perhaps he always keeps in his mind the fate of late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif who displeased the army.
One must also regret the behaviour of some of the judges on the bench ( particularly Justice Umer Ata Bandial and Justice Muneeb Akhtar ), who were deliberately rude and offensive to Justice ISA and his wife, and appeared to be clearly biased. Such judges are a disgrace to the judiciary, and remind one of Judge Jeffreys, the ‘hanging judge’ at the time of King James the Second of England.
Having said that, we must declare: two and a half cheers for the Pakistan Supreme Court!