ISLAMABAD - The trend of lengthy judgments is damaging the image of judiciary, observed Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali.

The chief justice passed these remarks while heading a three judges’ bench which heard Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq’s appeal against the Election Tribunal judgment. The tribunal deciding PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s petition had de-seated the NA Speaker besides imposing Rs2.3 million cost on him for committing rigging in general elections 2013 in NA-122.

Justice Jamali further observed that half a century ago maximum 10 pages verdict used to be written but now a race is going on among the judges regarding writing lengthy judgments. The CJP termed this trend ‘culture of self projection.’

The chief justice said the judges instead of involving in academic discussion should decide the cases on legal points which were raised before them.

Shahid Hamid advocate representing Ayaz Sadiq raised objection over the language, used by tribunal’s judge namely Kazim Ali Malik in the judgment to declare NA-122 elections as void. He argued that para seven of the judgment indicates a clear bias of the judge against the appellant.

“The judge is saying, in so many words, that if he decides the petition in favour of the appellant (Ayaz Sadiq) in this high profile election dispute then he will be following the doctrine of necessity-cum-expediency instead of making a microscopic examination of the election record to arrive at the truth.

The impugned order merits to be set aside on this ground alone,” the counsel further argued. Shahid Hamid contends that the tribunal’s judgment is stigma for his client, therefore it should be set aside.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial, a member of the bench, remarked that stigma has been vindicated by his client’s second victory from same constituency. The CJ said now only issue before the court is about the imposition of cost on Ayaz Sadiq by the tribunal.

He expressed wonder that how a returned candidate be awarded cost when he is not responsible for rigging and found guilty of irregularities, adding that these all are shortcomings of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), therefore cost should be borne by it.

Justice Bandial remarked that most of the election matters are being decided on the basis of NADRA reports on the verification of voters. He told that on their query, the ECP had informed the court that cost of by-elections is around Rs300 to 500 million, which is given by the public exchequer. The judge recommends that contested candidates should bear the expenditure, which may be great service for country.

Hamid Khan, counsel for PTI Chief Imran Khan stated that the ECP should bear the burden of cost of irregularities. However, he stated that the award of cost is the discretion of tribunal.

The CJP observed that if we come into conclusion that the ECP should bear the cost then it is necessary to take its point of view in this matter.

Later, the bench issued notice to secretary ECP regarding the particular matter related to the award of cost by the tribunal to the Ayaz Sadiq. The hearing of case is adjourned for indefinite period.