Pak judges raise questions over unbridled powers of Chief Justice
In an unusual development in the Pakistan top court, two judges of the Supreme Court raised questions over the powers of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), saying the apex court "cannot be dependent on the solitary decision of one man, the Chief Justice", according to a media report.
In a 27-page detailed ruling - claimed to be the judgement in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) plea over the delay in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections - Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail pointed out that it is important "to revisit the power of 'one-man show' enjoyed by the office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan [Umar Ata Bandial], Geo News reported.
The development came minutes after the Supreme Court served notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), adjourning the hearing on PTI's petition challenging the electoral body's orders to put off Punjab Assembly elections till October 8.
Highlighting the drawback of running a "one-man show", Justice Shah and Justice Mandokhail mentioned that it leads to the concentration of power in the hands of one individual, making the system more susceptible to the abuse of power, Geo News reported.
"In contrast, a collegial system with checks and balances helps prevent the abuse and mistakes in the exercise of power and promote transparency and accountability," they mentioned, adding that it also ensures good governance as it rests on collaboration, shared decision-making and balance of power.
"When one person has too much power, there is a risk that the institution may become autocratic and insulated, resulting in one-man policies being pursued, which may have a tendency of going against the rights and interests of the people," the document read, Geo News reported.
"It is this unbridled power enjoyed by the chief justice in taking up any matter as a suo moto case and in constituting special benches after the institution of the cases and assigning cases to them that has brought severe criticism and lowered the honour and prestige of this court," it added, Geo News reported.
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