Supreme Court issues notice to AGP, others in journalists’ complaint case

ISLAMABAD—The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the attorney general for Pakistan (AGP), president Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP), and vice-chairman of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) for legal assistance in journalists’ complaint case, APP reported.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmad, and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, heard the case and held in abeyance the order of a division bench on an application about journalists’ complaint.

During proceedings, the bench issued notices to the AGP, president SCBA, and vice-chairman PBC for legal assistance in regards to how the suo moto matter should be entertained.

The bench also raised questions on how suo moto was taken by a division bench, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa regarding journalists’ protection.

The bench observed that a division bench issued an order on August 20 against an application that was not pending before the court. The two-member bench also issued notices to government agencies, federal and provincial advocate generals, it added.

The bench remarked that the order directed that the case be fixed before the same bench on August 26 while the two-member bench, comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Jamal Mandokhel, was not available on August 26.

The bench asked whether a special bench should be constituted for this matter. The directives of the August 20 order, would remain in force, it added.

The court directed the respondents to submit replies regarding the harassment of journalists.

The bench remarked that the court would not look at the important questions, raised by the journalists at the moment. The real question was about the jurisdiction regarding the invocation of suo moto notice, it added.

The court directed that the issue of journalists’ complaints would remain ineffective until the new bench was formed.

The court stated that the bench would look into the matter that could anyone other than the chief justice take suo moto notice. Generally, there was a tradition that a bench other than the chief justice, could propose a matter for suo moto notice, it added.

The bench remarked that the court wanted to hear real stakeholders regarding the invocation of suo moto notice.

Later, the hearing of the case was adjourned till Wednesday.

Photo courtesy: Geo News

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