The Supreme Court has ruled that only the chief justice of Pakistan has the discretion to invoke a suo motu notice, recalling its earlier verdict regarding harassment of media people, on Thursday.

On August 20, a division bench of the apex court led by Justice Qazi Faez Isa had summoned government functionaries on media persons grievances.

The verdict was announced by a five-judge larger bench led by Acting Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

The bench stated, “No other bench can invoke suo motu jurisdiction.”

Earlier, the court reserved its judgement on the legal question of concerning how the suo motu jurisdiction under Article 184 (3) should be invoked.

The bench heard the arguments from Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Lateef Afridi and Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Khush Dil Khan.

Afridi said that the SC should not act in a divided manner, adding there was a strong perception among people that there was a division in the court.

A day earlier, the bars demanded of the apex court to form a full court for determining the question of how the suo motu jurisdiction should be invoked or entertained.

A larger bench of the apex court led by Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar resumed the hearing on Wednesday to determine the legal question of how the suo motu jurisdiction should be invoked.

The larger bench, in its first order, noted that the order passed by the division bench of the apex court led by Justice Qazi Faez Isa on the application against harassment of media persons, prima facie makes a departure from the norms of the applicable procedural practice.

According to The Express Tribune, Sindh High Court Bar Association President Salahuddin Ahmed said that judges who are passionate about a cause (no matter how noble) do not possess enough detachment to hear it objectively.

“Their decisions in such matters will not inspire public confidence. This applies equally whether the suo motu is taken by a judge or by a chief justice and whether the cause is building dams or establishing public transport systems or promoting media freedoms.”


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