The country’s top judge has made it clear that now neither the trend of continually adjourning cases will persist at the Supreme Court, nor will litigants have to wait for months to obtain a court order.
“This message from us is for everyone: the practice of adjourning cases to a later date will no longer work. Now, there’s no need to wait six to eight months to receive a court order, as was the case in the past,” Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJ) Qazi Faez Isa noted on Monday.
Justice Isa, who has taken some revolutionary measures after being sworn in as CJ on September 17, including allowing the live broadcast of full court proceedings on a law that seeks to limit the top judge’s powers, was leading a three-member bench hearing various civil and criminal cases.
During a case hearing, Justice Isa remarked that people should dispel the misconception that they can get their cases adjourned using various pretexts.
“The number of pending cases in the Supreme Court is quite high, and here, notices should be issued at the first hearing, and arguments should be presented at the next.”
Read CJP Isa overshadows his predecessor’s entire tenure
In a case related to a property dispute, an interesting conversation took place between the chief justice and the litigant. When the CJ asked the litigant, Sabqatullah Jan, why his lawyer had not shown up, he replied that lawyers are very expensive and that he wants to withdraw the case.
“We have reached an out-of-court settlement with the other party,” he said.
When the CJ asked, “Should we draft your statement and dismiss the case?” The litigant replied in the affirmative. The court accepted the request, and the case was dismissed.
A bench led by CJ Isa also heard the plea of an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) who was dismissed after a murder accused under his watch escaped from a hospital.
During the hearing, when the petitioner’s lawyer presented the argument that his client went to the hospital’s canteen for Sehri (pre-dawn meal during Ramazan), when the accused escaped, the CJ took exception.
“The petitioner could have had his Sehri in the ward where the accused was admitted. Your client left his duty post, and as a result, the accused managed to flee.”
“I’ll give you an example from Courtroom 1 of the Supreme Court. Imagine if police officers assigned for the security of my court leave their posts to have a meal, and an attack takes place.
“Would such a situation be acceptable? Negligence of this kind provides terrorists with an opportunity. If, in the presence of your client, the accused had engaged in a scuffle and fled, the situation would have been different. The police are an organized force that operates under rules and regulations,” he said.
The court later rejected the ASI’s appeal against his dismissal.
During the hearing of a case related to taxes, the CJ asked the petitioner’s lawyer why he had not filed a reply despite the court’s direction issued in March last year.
“Propaganda is spread against the Supreme Court that tax cases worth billions are pending here, but in tax cases, your situation is such that a response couldn’t be filed in one and a half years.” The bench later imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner.”