ISLAMABAD - Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb yesterday recused himself from the hearing of an application related to the provision of a bulletproof vehicle to former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

A division bench of IHC, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb, heard the application. Later, Justice Gul Hassan recused himself from hearing the matter citing his personal reasons.

Justice Aamer sent the matter to Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi to constitute a new bench to hear the application.

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing Advocate Riaz Hanif Rahi’s application on January 26, had observed that prima facie, the IHC had no jurisdiction to direct the federal government to provide a bulletproof car to the former chief justice. On January 27, he directed the IHC to decide the ICA in the first week of February, saying the matter before the SC would remain pending.

Then Sheikh Ahsan-ud-Din and Taufiq Asif advocates moved the application against the observation of the senior judge of the Supreme Court regarding providing a bulletproof car to former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. They filed the application in the Islamabad High Court under Section 151 of CPC.

They requested the IHC to transfer the appeal to the Supreme Court or constitute a full bench for hearing the intra-court appeal. The ICA was fixed on February 4 against the order of a single judge of the IHC.

The applicants stated: “The observation of the senior judge expressed uncalled-for opinion against the principles of justice in proceedings wherein the applicants/respondents were neither a party nor were they summoned over the subject matter of the ICA.”

They contended that the remarks of Justice Saqib had undermined status and respect of ex-Chief Justice Iftikhar who had led a movement for the supremacy of the constitution and rule of law in the country.

They said it was the well recognised principle of justice that a judge must avoid all possibility of his opinion or action in any case in view of Article IV of Code of Conduct of Supreme Judicial Council.

The petitioners said the tenor of the reports of the court proceedings in newspapers suggests that by keeping pending the case till the decision of the IHC was tantamount to interfering or impeding the path of justice, because there was every likelihood that in view of the unprecedented opinion expressed by the senior judge, justice would not be done in either way for postponing the hearing till disposal of the appeal meant to supervise the proceedings, which was highly uncalled-for legally, being contrary to Article-IV of the Code of Conduct.

They contended that in view of the factual circumstances, prima facie, biasness by the judge because of expressing an opinion in a pending case can be inferred. The petitioners said the observation of Justice Saqib would not allow the IHC to decide the appeal independently.