Ex-CJP Jillani recuses himself from heading judges' letter inquiry commission

Ex-CJP Jillani recuses himself from heading judges' letter inquiry commission
Source: File Photo

Islamabad (Web Desk): Former chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani on Monday recused himself from heading the inquiry commission formed to probe the allegations levelled by six Islamabad High Court (IHC) judges regarding the intelligence agencies interference in judicial matters.

The decision by the former CJP comes minutes after the Supreme Court (SC) took suo motu notice on Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) judges' letter.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Justice (retd) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani thanked the premier and the federal cabinet for reposing confidence in him.

He also thanked CJP Faez Isa and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah for expressing confidence in him.

Justice (retd) Jillani said that he had gone through the letter by the IHC judges, the ToRs approved by the federal cabinet and Article 209.

Article 209 of the Constitution empowers the SJC to carry out inquiries into the capacity and conduct of Supreme Court and high court judges.

“Since the letter is addressed to the members of SJC and its chairman the chief justice of Pakistan, it would be violative of judicial propriety for me to inquire into a matter which may fall within the jurisdiction of a constitutional body which is the SJC or the Supreme Court of Pakistan itself,” he said.

The former CJP added that the ToRs for the inquiry were “strictly not germane to the subject matter of the letter”, noting that the IHC judges had asked the SJC for guidance.

“Towards the end the request made in the letter is for an ‘institutional consultation’ in terms of the mechanism suggested in the said letter. Though the letter in question may not strictly fall within the parameters of Article 209 of the Constitution, but the honourable chief justice of Pakistan being a paterfamilias may address and resolve the issues raised in the letter at the institutional level,” Justice (retd) Jillani said, adding that he was recusing himself from heading the commission.

The government had appointed the former CJP to head the commission following the approval by the federal cabinet on Saturday.

The development came after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and CJP Qazi Faez Isa, during a meeting, agreed to investigate the matter.

Later, the cabinet also gave go-ahead to the terms of reference (ToRs) of the commission.

On Sunday, lawyers and civil society members, in a joint letter, had urged the top court to take “cognisance of the matter in its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution as this issue eminently relates to public interest and to the enforcement of fundamental rights”.

They had called on the top court to initiate suo motu proceedings as it rejected the “powerless” one-man commission appointed by the federal cabinet to probe the claims.

On March 26, the IHC judges including, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, Justice Babar Sattar, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan, Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir, and Justice Saman Rafat Imtiaz, wrote the letter to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), urged the council to convene a judicial convention over the alleged interference of intelligence agencies in judicial affairs.