ISLAMABAD: A 10-member full bench of the Supreme Court hearing a set of petitions challenging the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa was dissolved on Monday after one of the judges became unavailable.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who was heading the bench, said as the judges congregated that the bench had been dissolved due to the non-availability of Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel.
Justice Bandial said, “the matter of constituting a new bench is being sent to the chief justice.”
Justice Isa’s counsel, Munir A. Malik, requested again that a full-court bench be formed to hear the case, to which Justice Bandial reminded him that it is up to the chief justice to form a bench however he sees fit.
This will be the second time that the chief justice will be requested to reconstitute the bench hearing the petitions regarding presidential references against Justice Isa.
Initially, a seven-member bench was constituted to hear the petitions but, following the recusal of Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, a request had been sent to the chief justice to reconstitute a bench to hear the case. The top judge had then constituted the current 10-member bench.
Members of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) expressed reservations over the development, saying that they “cannot see justice being delivered”.
Talking to the media after the court’s proceedings, PBC lawyers said that the bench had been dissolved because of the absence of one judge. There was no ground to reconstitute the bench as, according to a Supreme Court order, a bench that begins hearing a petition is supposed to hear the entire case, they added.