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SC takes suo motu on ‘interference’ in criminal cases

CJP fixes the case for hearing before a five-judge bench today, SC says such actions can undermine the functioning of the criminal justice system.

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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial has taken suo motu notice of the perceived apprehension of “persons in authority” undermining the criminal justice system.

Chief Justice Bandial fixed the case for hearing before a five-judge bench today at 1 pm, comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, headed by himself.

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In a press release, the apex court said the CJP took notice of perceived interference in the “independence of the prosecution branch in the performance of its powers and duties for the investigation and prosecution of pending criminal matters involving persons in authority in the government.”

The chief justice took notice of the perceived interference on the recommendations of a judge belonging to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the statement said.

The notice has been taken amidst allegations leveled by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) that soon after coming to power, the present coalition government allegedly started influencing different cases and transferring investigators or officers supervising cases, especially related to corruption allegations.

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The court expressed worries that such perceived interferences may influence the prosecution of cases, tampering, disappearing of evidence in courts or possession of prosecuting agencies, and transfer and postings of officers on key posts.

“Such actions, along with media reports to modify accountability laws, are likely to undermine the functioning of the criminal justice system in the country, which amounted to violation of fundamental rights affecting the society as a whole and eroding the confidence of the people in the rule of law and constitutionalism in the country,” the announcement said.