Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail of the Supreme Court have called for revisiting the power of the “one-man show” enjoyed by the chief justice, saying that the country’s top court could not “be dependent on the solitary decision of one man”.
The two made the remarks in a detailed dissenting note — released on Monday hours after the SC took up the PTI’s plea challenging the postponement of elections in Punjab — for the top court’s March 1 verdict regarding holding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the two provincial assemblies have been dissolved.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Umar Ata Bandial on February 22 took suo motu notice of the polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, saying that there appeared to be a “lack of clarity” on the matter.
Justice Bandial also constituted a nine-member bench — comprising himself, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah — to hear the case.
The CJP on February 27, however, split the larger bench into a five-member bench. The SC also issued a written order, which was dictated in the open court on Feb 23 when Justice Jamal Mandokhail objected to the initiation of the proceedings under Article 184(3).
Signed by nine judges, the written order of the bench stated that keeping in view the Feb 23 order, the additional notes attached by four judges, the CJP’s direction to add questions raised by Justice Shah, Justice Afridi, Justice Mandokhail and Justice Minallah, as well as discussions/deliberations made in the anteroom of the apex court, the matter was referred back to the top judge.