Monday, 11 April 2011
It is with regret that one has to point this out but the bias of our Most Honourable Chief Justice is once again apparent in the proceedings on the government's review petition on the NRO case. The court is refusing to allow the government to replace Mr. Kamal Azfar, who originally pleaded the case, by another lawyer of its choice on the ground that the Rules of the Supreme Court make it mandatory that the same lawyer who pleaded the original case also plead the review application. This is said to be a requirement under Order XXVI Rule 6 of the Supreme Court Rules. Rule 6 of Order XXVI states: "[6. Except with the special leave of the Court, no application for review shall be entertained unless it is drawn by the Advocate who appeared at the hearing of the case in which the judgment or order, sought to be reviewed, was made. Nor shall any other Advocate, except such Advocate, be heard in support of the application for review, unless the Court has dispensed with the requirement aforesaid." A plain reading of this Rule shows that a change of counsel will not be allowed "unless the Court has dispensed with the requirement aforesaid". It is as clear as daylight that the Supreme Court has the power to allow a new counsel to plead the review application and there is nothing mandatory about the rule. The Supreme Court is the apex court in our country. There are vested interests who would like to see a confrontation between organs of the state. Our country has been rid of a military dictatorship after giving great sacrifices. Our people have yet to see the benefits of democracy trickle down. Our people are targets of extremism, ethnic killings and sectarian strife. Is it too much to expect that at least the Supreme Court interpret it's own rules correctly? And even if the rules had not permitted a change of counsel would it not have been better if the Supreme Court had shown a little magnanimity in the matter? After all the rules have been framed by humans and not ordained by God. What about the age old maxim that justice must not only be done but must also be seen to have been done. But then maybe magnanimity by Muslims came to an end with the conquest of Mecca.