Where the one-man driven judicial foray into politics has irked politicians and lawmakers alike, it seems that the despotic deportment adopted of late by the CJP is ruffling a few feathers within the judicial enclave as well.
The highly unprecedented and autocratic exclusion of Judge Qazi Isa from a three-member bench hearing a human rights case foretells of the salient disquiet within the judiciary of the high handedness of the CJP in the dissolution and the reconstitution of the bench.
“The approval of the Honorable Chief Justice is not a substitute for an order of the Supreme Court,”- an unequivocal and categorical categorization of how the obfuscation of roles and discretions that have pervaded into the political sphere under the paradigm of judicial activism have percolated into the institution of justice itself. Justice Qazi’s assertion paves way for more vociferous questions to be raised against the judicial politicisation and activism under the CJP.
Qazi’s assertion remains in the right that in the interest of even-handedness, the powers that the Constitution has granted to the Supreme Court cannot be wholly assumed by an official of the SC division and doing so, without assessing the applicability to the prerequisites of fundamental rights and public importance, effectively impedes due justice. His assessment of the case, the lack of relevant documentation and the need for the invocation of Article 184 (3) ; Whether an issue qualifies under ‘the matter of public importance and fundamental rights’, to be ascertained by the judgment of the SC, is absolutely relevant and obviates the usurping of roles by vigilantism or misplaced bravado. Similarly, the dissolution of the bench and Justice Isa’s consequent exclusion is another delinquency in the justice process. Such ad hoc and reactionary decisions that hint at a curbing a difference of opinion-or dissent- derails a process that is democratic solely because it relies on nuanced perspectives of the seasoned minds anointed for the bench.
Such a turning point in the justice system is susceptible to autocracy and despotism, ironically the very malady that the CJP has set out to remedy the political system of.
Justice Qazi’s taking exception to his sudden exclusion without due elaboration is justified and should be addressed accordingly. The institution of justice cannot be eroded with the same politics of patronage or totalitarian culture which has to-date plagued our political matrix. It has to be democratic and transparent- that is the only way justice can be delivered.