Umar Ata Bandial

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Umar Ata Bandial
عمرعطا بندیال
28th Chief Justice of Pakistan
In office
2 February 2022 – 16 September 2023
Nominated byImran Khan
Appointed byArif Alvi
Preceded byGulzar Ahmed
Succeeded byQazi Faez Isa
Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan
In office
17 June 2014 – 16 September 2023
Preceded byArif Hussain
Chief Justice of Lahore High Court
In office
1 June 2012 – 16 June 2014
Preceded byAzmat Saeed
Succeeded byImtiaz Ahmad
Justice of the Lahore High Court
In office
4 December 2004 – 16 June 2014
Preceded byMuhammad Zafar Yasin
Succeeded byChudhery Mushtaq Ahmad
Personal details
Born (1958-09-17) 17 September 1958 (age 65)
Lahore, West Pakistan (present-day Punjab, Pakistan)
Parent
EducationAitchison College
Alma materColumbia University (BA)
University of Cambridge

Umar Ata Bandial (Urdu: عمر عطا بندیال, [ʊmər ətaː bənd̪jaːl]; born 17 September 1958) is a Pakistani jurist who served as the 28th Chief Justice of Pakistan from February 2022 to September 2023. He was appointed as the Chief Justice after the approval by President Arif Alvi on 13 January 2022,[1] after which he assumed his office on 2 February 2022 and retired on 16 September 2023.

[2] Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, he served as a Justice of Lahore High Court[3] from 1 June 2012 to 16 June 2014.

Justice Bandial served as the Chief Justice of Pakistan for one year, six months, and 25 days from 2 February 2022, until his retirement on 16 September 2023.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Bandial was born in 1958 in Lahore, West Pakistan, into a Punjabi Muslim family. In 1973, Bandial received his Senior Cambridge certificate from St Mary's Academy, Rawalpindi. He then enrolled in Aitchison College, Lahore, for his Higher Senior Cambridge certificate, which he received in 1975.[5][6] He received his bachelor's degree in economics from Columbia University in 1979[7] and followed this with a Law Tripos degree from the University of Cambridge in 1981. He qualified as a Barrister-at-Law from Lincoln's Inn, London.[2]

Career[edit]

Bandial joined the Lahore High Court as an advocate in 1983. He also taught torts law and contract law at the Punjab University Law College in Lahore until 1987, after which he served on its Graduate Studies Committee. He then was made a Judge of the Lahore High Court.[citation needed] After a few years on 17 June 2014, he became a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.[citation needed]

Lahore High Court[edit]

He was elevated as a Judge of the Lahore High Court on 4 December 2004. He was one of the judges who refused to take an oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order, preferring to resign instead. He was restored as a LHC judge as a result of the Lawyers' Movement.[citation needed]

As a judge of the Lahore High Court, he presided over cases related to constitutional rights, civil and commercial disputes, and public interest. On 1 June 2012, he was appointed as the 41st Chief Justice of Lahore High Court.[8][9] He served at that post until his appointment as a Supreme Court judge on 16 June 2014.[10][11][12]

Supreme Court of Pakistan[edit]

Bandial's appointment as the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) was approved by Alvi on 13 January 2022.[1] He was sworn in on 2 February 2022, in a ceremony at Aiwan-e-Sadr.[13][14]

In his first month, he initiated reforms in various organs of the Supreme Court, including the Case Management System, to ensure provision of speedy justice. He reorganized the bodies that dealt with administrative and judicial powers, including the building committee, record enrolment committee, Supreme Court research affairs branch, and law clerk programme. He appointed Qazi Faez Isa, Sardar Tariq Masood, Ijazul Ahsan, Mazhar Alam, and Sajjad Ali Shah as the monitoring judges of the provincial anti-terrorism courts of Balochistan, Islamabad, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh, respectively.[citation needed]

As the CJP, Justice Bandial was elected as chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Judicial Commission of Pakistan, and Law and Justice Commission. The structure of these three bodies was changed completely.[15]

In his first month as CJP, the Supreme Court decided a record 1,761 cases in an effort to address the issue of pendency. Senior lawyers noted the discipline in the fixation of cases and formation of benches.[16]

In 2022, he was named among the Time 100 most influential people.[17]

Controversies[edit]

Crisis in Judiciary[edit]

Justice Mandokhel refused to sit down chief justice and the other bench members due to disagreements with the bench members.[18] Justice Minallah regrets apex court's conduct, terms it akin to 'advancing political strategies'[19] Justice Minallah calls for 'introspection' as country verges on constitutional crisis. Justice Minallah, who is among those judges of the apex court who have rejected the suo motu notice taken by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial regarding the delay in polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, said that by entertaining the petitions and suo motu jurisdiction, the court would be "unjustifiably undermining the independence of two provincial high courts."[20] Judges must not be seen as 'politicians in robes', says Justice Minallah[21]

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is also the Chairman of PPP said that Judicial dictatorship not acceptable. He said "If there is no difference among the SC judges, then what is the issue in constituting a full court? You can save the country from the constitutional crisis by making a full court."[22] Collation Government asked Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to first put his "own house in order" before asking politicians to sit together.[23]

Former Sindh High Court Bar Association president Salahuddin Ahmed told Dawn that he is also of the opinion that the current conflict within the judiciary is fast heading towards a 1997-like situation.[24]

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial has reached out to his fellow judges to put an end to the division in the Supreme Court as the controversy surrounding the top court's verdict on election delay case in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) continues to deepen.[25]

Resolution against Judiciary[edit]

On 28 March 2023, the Pakistani government unanimously passed a controversial resolution against the Judiciary. The resolution, which was introduced by Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb, rejects the Judiciary's interference in the legislative process.[26] On 6 April 2023, The National Assembly passed a resolution to reject the decision of the three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) — which had instructed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct snap polls in the country.[27]

Justice Naqvi Controversy[edit]

First time in the Pakistan History, The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the apex regularity body of lawyers, on Friday filed a complaint of misconduct against Supreme Court's Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).[28]

Two judges of the Supreme Court, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, have written to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), urging the top judicial body to initiate proceedings on complaints of alleged "misconduct and financial impropriety" against their fellow apex court judge, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi.[29]

However, the Supreme Judicial Council meeting was not yet called by Chief Justice Umar ata Bandial. The prime minister also pointedly asked the chief justice to respond to the allegation of corruption against a fellow judge."I want to ask the chief justice, that a judge against whom there have been serious allegations, what message do you want to send to the nation by having him sit alongside you?" the premier said.[30]

Disputed appointment of Registrar[edit]

The federal cabinet withdrew the services of Supreme Court Registrar Ishrat Ali after a letter from Justice Qazi Faez Isa that sought the removal of the circular by the registrar.[31]

Justice Qazi Mentioned in the letter that the bureaucratic holding of the office of the Registrar violates Article 175 (3) of the Constitution, which mandates the complete separation of the Judiciary and the Executive. Justice Qazi stated that Registrar's conduct demonstrates that he does not have the requisite competence, ability, and understanding to hold the office of the Registrar.[32] However, Pakistan's Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial Tuesday directed the registrar of the Supreme Court to not relinquish the charge of his office.[33]

Demand of resignation[edit]

The government asked Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial's resignation on Friday, a day after the PDM-led federal government issued a resolution opposing the Supreme Court's (SC) decision mandating elections in Punjab on 14 May 2023. In a confrontational press conference, the Federal Minister of Information, Marriyum Aurangzeb, sought the resignation of Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, asserting that the recent case was not about elections but rather bench fixing.[34][35]

Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), demanded the Chief Justice of Pakistan quit immediately and accused him of promoting the PTI party's agenda. Sharif criticised the CJ in a tweet on Friday, asserting that courts should help nations escape crises rather than drive them into them. He further charged the chief justice with supporting the PTI's agenda and imposing the minority's viewpoint over the majority's decision in the Punjab election case.[36][37]

Amid a deepening political and constitutional crisis, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council has joined the people demanding Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial's resignation, asking the top judge to step down as he had become "controversial".[38]

Another complaint against four Supreme Court (SC) judges including Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial was filed on Monday at the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) seeking their removal from office. In addition to the CJP, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Mazhar Ali Naqvi have been named in the complaint.[39]

SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023[edit]

The government presents a bill in the National Assembly as PM Shehbaz Sharif accuses the top court of creating 'political instability'.[40] Pakistan SC sets up larger bench against bill recently passed to curtail powers of Chief Justice.[41]

However, the legal fraternity has strongly reacted over the composition of the eight-member larger bench of the Supreme Court hearing “premature petitions” against the SC (Practice and Procedure) Bill 2023, saying that the selection of judges for this purpose was justifying that the discretionary powers of the chief justice of Pakistan should be regulated. Advocate Salar Khan pointed out that with the predictability of this bench, the CJP, himself, made the best case for passing the very same law that this petition had challenged.[42]

Coalition parties reject 'controversial' SC bench formed to take up SC bill. "There is a conflict of interest as bill passed against CJP's powers is being heard by himself," law minister say [43]

SC puts on hold non-existent law in pre-emptive strike.[44]

Alleged audio leak of Bandial's mother-in-law[edit]

On 23 April 2023, a supposedly recorded phone call between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's lawyer Khawaja Tariq Rahim's wife Rafia Tariq and Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial's mother-in-law Mahjabeen Noon went viral. They reportedly discussed their support for the chief justice of the Supreme Court and their desire for immediate elections. The women allegedly voiced anger towards the PDM's government during the claimed call.[45][46]

The PDM government later formed a judicial commission to investigate the leaked audio call and requested CJP Bandial to step down from the bench in order to guarantee that proper justice be delivered.[47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "President approves appointment of Justice Umar Ata Bandial as CJP". ARY NEWS. 13 January 2022. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b admin. "Mr. Justice Umar Ata Bandial". Supreme Court of Pakistan. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  3. ^ Dawn.com (17 June 2014). "Justice Umar Ata Bandial takes oath as Supreme Court judge". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Six of incumbent SC judges to become CJP". The Nation. 24 February 2021. Archived from the original on 24 February 2021. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Aitchison College:- News & Events". www.aitchison.edu.pk. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  6. ^ admin. "Mr. Justice Umar Ata Bandial". Supreme Court of Pakistan. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Alumni in the News | Columbia College Today". www.college.columbia.edu. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Oath Ceremony of Hon'ble Chief Justice | Lahore High Court". lhc.gov.pk. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Lahore High Court: Justice Bandial to take oath as chief justice today". The Express Tribune. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Former Chief Justices| Lahore High Court". data.lhc.gov.pk. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
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  12. ^ Imaduddin (17 June 2014). "Justice Umar Atta Bandial takes oath as judge Supreme Court". Brecorder. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
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  17. ^ "THE 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF 2022". TIME. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  18. ^ Iqbal, Nasir (1 April 2023). "Cracks in SC ranks laid bare as another judge leaves bench". DAWN.COM.
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  21. ^ Iqbal, Nasir (8 April 2023). "Judges must not be seen as 'politicians in robes', says Justice Minallah". DAWN.COM.
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  23. ^ Wasim, Amir (4 April 2023). "Coalition asks CJP to put 'own house in order'". DAWN.COM.
  24. ^ Sheikh, Wajih Ahmad (4 April 2023). "Haunted by the ghost of Justice Sajjad Ali Shah's court". DAWN.COM.
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  27. ^ "NA resolution snubs SC order on Punjab polls, 'binds' PM to reject 'minority' decision". www.thenews.com.pk.
  28. ^ "PBC files complaint against Justice Naqvi in SJC". The Express Tribune. 10 March 2023.
  29. ^ "Alleged corruption: Two SC judges urge SJC to proceed against Justice Naqvi". Retrieved 15 April 2023.
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  31. ^ "Cabinet withdraws services of SC registrar after Justice Isa's letter". www.geo.tv.
  32. ^ Iqbal, Syed Irfan Raza | Nasir (4 April 2023). "SC registrar removed after Justice Isa's blistering rejoinder". DAWN.COM.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  33. ^ Hussain, Sajjad (4 April 2023). "Pakistan's CJ halts immediate release of Supreme Court registrar".
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  35. ^ Samaa Web Desk (7 April 2023). "Government demands Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial step down". Samaa. Retrieved 8 April 2023.
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  38. ^ "KP Bar Council asks CJP Umar Ata Bandial to step down". www.geo.tv.
  39. ^ "Complaint filed at SJC seeks ouster of CJ Bandial, others". The Express Tribune. 10 April 2023.
  40. ^ Hussain, Abid. "Why is Pakistan government trying to clip Supreme Court's powers?". Al Jazeeera.
  41. ^ "Pakistan SC sets up larger bench against bill recently passed to curtail powers of Chief Justice". WION. 13 April 2023. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
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  43. ^ "Coalition parties reject 'controversial' SC bench formed to take up SC bill". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  44. ^ "Islamabad Bar Council files reference against SC judge". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 15 April 2023.
  45. ^ "Audio call between CJP Bandial's mother-in-law, PTI lawyer's wife leaked". The News International. 23 April 2023.
  46. ^ "Alleged audio of Chief Justice's mother-in-law leaked". Dunya News. 24 April 2023.
  47. ^ "Govt asks for 'impartial judges' to hear audio leaks case". Dawn. 31 May 2023.