Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has said that as the outgoing chief justice he was carrying many hopes, as the Supreme Court has faced a very difficult time in the recent past.
“None of us disagreed with holding the general elections within 90 days after the dissolution of the assembly,” he remarked.
The CJP was addressing a full court reference on the occasion of the new judicial year at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is accused of holding the dam fund worth billions of rupees, CJP Bandial said, adding that the fund was in the government’ secure custody.
The court has strengthened with the arrival of women judges, while the presence of women has also increased in the administrative positions of the court, the top judge added.
The tussle arose because it was a political clash, CJP Bandial remarked, adding that the duty of the court was to explain what the Constitution said. He added that despite heavy criticism, the court only took suo motu notice in one case in the nine months of this year.
CJP Bandial also said that journalists are the eyes and ears of society, and are expected to report accurately.
Addressing on the occasion, Supreme Court Bar Association President Abid Zuberi suggested action be taken against the Election Commission of Pakistan under Article 6 over its deviation from the Constitution in delaying elections beyond 90 days.
The Supreme Court has not taken any steps to implement its decision related to the elections, he stressed, adding: “We demand the president announce the elections soon.”
Zuberi said further that fundamental rights were being violated in the guise of the Official Secrets Act and the Army Amendment Act.
A civilian’s trial is unconstitutional and illegal, which is not acceptable in any way, he insisted, adding that the nation’s daughters and sisters are imprisoned on fabricated and baseless charges.
Abid Zuberi requested the court to take notice of this forced imprisonment, adding that the petitions against military courts should be decided immediately.
Earlier, Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan said that exercising its power to hear cases directly, the Supreme Court should be mindful of the limits of constitutional institutions.
The identity of the Supreme Court is affected by the careless use of Article 184(3) of the Constitution, the AGP remarked.
“This authority gives the chief justice disproportionate control over decisions on controversial matters,” he added.
The formation of benches and judges appointments also echoed in parliament, the AGP remarked, adding that there was a need for transparency in many judicial and administrative matters of this court.
Later, when a journalist asked if he was seeking a farewell full court reference, CJP Bandial said he had not thought about it yet or decided.
When chief justice-designate Justice Qazi Faez Isa was asked if the CJP was being given a farewell full court reference, he responded that they were also waiting and would announce as soon as they find out.
“By the way, he has said in his speech that this may be his last address,” Justice Isa remarked.