Justice Mansoor against inclusion of audio leak linked. ISLAMABAD: Judge Mansoor Ali Shah expressed his reluctance over the election date suo motu notice and described the appointment of one judge on the five-member panel as “wrong” because he was allegedly connected to a contentious audio leak.
Also, the judge was under investigation by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
In a letter of dissent published on Monday, Justice Shah stated that he decided not to disqualify himself from the case despite warnings about using this court’s jurisdiction and the bench’s Constitution.
Several judges sitting on the bench today, including Justices Athar Minallah, Yahya Afridi, and Jamal Mandokhail, also published dissenting opinions.
He questioned why an institutional answer was not provided in this regard without addressing Judge Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, against whom a reference had been filed in the SJC, or the problem of leaked audio.
Every judge on this court has a constitutional and legal obligation to sit on a bench that has been assembled by the honourable chief justice and to hear cases assigned to that bench, unless a judge recuses himself for a legitimate reason. Simple recusal may be construed as a waiver of the constitutional and legal obligation in the absence of any legitimate justification. Considering this, I have decided to continue hearing these matters despite having concerns about how the originating jurisdiction
He claimed that the suo motu was used in response to a two-member bench’s recommendation in a case involving a civil servant’s employment.
“The order was made in a case that, in my opinion, had no bearing at all on the current matter before us, reflecting to an ordinary reader of the order an unnecessary interest of the two-member Bench in the matter,” the author wrote.
The issue surrounding one of the members of the said bench that was brought about by audio leaks was tied to the said order, according to Justice Shah.
Justice Shah expressed regret that “in spite of the demands from within the court,” nothing had been done about the leaked audio clips and the accusations against a Supreme Court judge.
Additionally, there are reports that the Bar Councils have filed references against the aforementioned member with the Supreme Judicial Council. The inclusion of the said member on the bench in the current matter of “public importance” in light of this context and before these allegations could be looked into and cleared up seems, most respectfully, inappropriate. When additional senior honourable justices of this court are not included on the Bench, its inclusion takes on a more complicated meaning.
In his order invoking this Court’s original jurisdiction pursuant to Article 184(3) of the Constitution suo motu, the chief justice had the pleasure of stating categorically that “these matters involve the performance of constitutional obligations of great public importance apart from calling for faithful constitutional enforcement.”
Despite these facts, he said, the two senior-most judges of this court had not been appointed to the bench to hear and decide on cases of “high public importance” for reasons that were not stated in the order that created the current bench.
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The public confidence and trust that our nation’s citizens place in us is our greatest asset as the top judicial institution. We must always be unquestioned and beyond reproach in how we administer justice, especially how the public perceives our impartiality, transparency, and openness.