In Islamabad, the Supreme Court has effectively resolved 257 cases (excluding CMAs) from September 25 to September 30 and has initiated 204 new cases during this period.
In an official statement released on Saturday, the Supreme Court highlighted its commitment, under the leadership of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and other judges, to expedite case resolution and reduce the backlog. The statement emphasized the judiciary’s dedication to providing relief to litigants.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who assumed the position of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), faces several significant challenges. These challenges include managing issues such as holding general elections within 90 days, overseeing trials of civilians in military courts under the Army Act, and addressing political parties’ concerns regarding civil liberties. He took office as the 29th Chief Justice on September 17.
One major task at hand is the review of petitions challenging the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Faizabad sit-in, authored by CJP Isa on February 6, 2019. This judgment directed intelligence agencies, including ISI, IB, MI, and the army’s media wing, the ISPR, not to exceed their constitutional mandates, specifically addressing their role during a 20-day sit-in organized by the TLP in November 2017.
The TLP protest had arisen in response to alleged changes made in lawmakers’ oath concerning the finality of prophethood through the Elections Bill 2017. The protesters demanded the resignation of the then-law minister, Zahid Hamid.
Recently, the Ministry of Defence, PTI, and the ECP submitted applications to withdraw their pleas. Similar applications had previously been filed by the IB and Pemra. The Chief Justice expressed curiosity about the withdrawal of these review petitions, suggesting there might have been an order to file them.
CJP Isa has made significant achievements since taking office, including convening a full court meeting and forming a full court on his first day. He also created history by proposing live streaming of court proceedings and offering to devolve his discretionary powers.
CJP Isa’s decision to form benches in consultation with the two senior-most SC judges and his criticism of the “misuse” of public interest jurisdiction under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution have been noteworthy. He also questioned a judgment related to the Reko Diq case during a full court hearing.
Additionally, CJP Isa held meetings with representatives of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to discuss the Supreme Court’s disposal rate. Following consultations, he decided to issue a monthly proposed cause list and implement a case management policy.
CJP Isa’s appointment of the first female apex court registrar and his efforts to improve efficiency and working within the Supreme Court have been well-received by lawyers and stakeholders.