The Supreme Court (SC) rejected on Tuesday a petition seeking live coverage of the Justice Qazi Faiz Isa case. By majority vote, six judges of the apex court rejected the request of Justice Isa to broadcast the hearing of the case, while four judges supported broadcasting the hearing live.
The court said a detailed decision on the petition will be issued later.
The dissenting note of the verdict said that court proceedings should be uploaded on the SC website and audio recordings of cases of public interest should be uploaded on the website without being edited as access to information is a basic right of the public.
The court said how it decides to give access to information is an administrative matter.
When the verdict was issued, Justice Isa said he wanted to know the names of the judges who were for and against the request to have the case broadcast live. On this, Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that if he [Justice Isa] reads the verdict, he will know the names.
In the application, Justice Isa pleaded that the apex court should order the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to issue written instructions to all private channels that they could not be restrained from broadcasting the court proceedings or live streaming of the proceedings.
#BREAKING: #JusticeQaziFaezIsa asks full court “Hon’ble Court may direct the State-owned #PTV to broadcast live the proceedings of the petitioner’s case, (b) to direct #PEMRA to issue written instructions to all private channels that they cannot be restrained in any manner. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/tvTj7CpFKM
— Asad Ali Toor (@AsadAToor) February 25, 2021
Justice Isa said that the prayer had been made in the best interest of justice and that court proceedings were broadcast in a number of countries.
As a judge of the Supreme Court, he pleaded that he was handicapped and unlike any other citizen could not hold a press conference to rebut or respond to the allegations. The official respondents with their iron grip on the media had also ensured that the contents of his filings were neither broadcast nor published, he added.
When SC order media not to discuss Hudaibiya Paper Mills case
It is important to note that in 2018, the Supreme Court (SC) restrained the electronic media from discussing merits and demerits of the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case in live talk shows and directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ensure implementation of its order. Justce Faez Isa was part of the bench.
On the court order, Pemra issued a directive to all private TV channels telling them not to air any live show regarding the Hudaibiya case. In case of violation, Pemra shall proceed against the channel(s) or programme(s) under the Pemra Ordinance 2002, says a press release.
Later on, the top court threw out the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) review petition against rejection of its plea for reopening the 18-year-old Rs1.2 billion Hudabiya Paper Mills scam case against the Sharif family.
Faez Isa J. not to hear cases involving PM Imran Khan
Recently, an order issued by the apex court has suggested Faez Isa J. not to hear the cases concerning the premier: “The Hon. Chief Justice of Pakistan, therefore, observed that in these circumstances it would not be proper for the Hon. Judge to hear the matter considering that he had already filed a petition against the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in his personal capacity. Therefore, to uphold the principle of un-biasness and impartiality, it would be in the interest of justice that the Hon. Judge should not hear matters involving the Prime Minister of Pakistan,” the order states.
A two-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Maqbool Baqir heard a case pertaining to local bodies elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Justice Faez Isa said that a referendum could be held with the journalists present in the courtroom to determine the state of freedom of media in Pakistan. The judge asked the journalists who think that media is free in Pakistan should raise their hands. No reporter in the court raised a hand on this. Justice Faez Isa then asked that those who think the media is not free to raise their hands to which all the journalists present in the courtroom raised their hands.