Mr Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary’s last day as CJ saw media houses and the legal fraternity in outrage, when a private channel started televising ‘exclusive’ footage of a full-court reference, against all written and unspoken rules of the Supreme Court. All the while the offending channel crying victorious over its blatant defiance of a code of ethics, which can only have been facilitated by ‘friendly’ elements within the SC.

Firstly, these were not hidden cameras. They were on podiums, in front of a full bench of all the eminent justices of the Supreme Court. They were unmarked by channel logos. A clear sign that whoever placed them there, knew full well they were not supposed to. Secondly, they were not ordered out, despite being present in the room in direct violation of Article 25 of the Supreme Court Act.

But, how did this happen? Why and who gave a single channel exclusive permission to break the rules and cover an event, while even state-run PTV, was broadcasting from the annual Chrysanthemum Exhibition in Lahore, oblivious to the unusual and irregular proceedings in Courtroom 1.

The incoming CJP, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, has taken notice of the issue. And rightly so. How is it that the extremely observant bench failed to notice the cameras staring right at them? Knowing their inquisitorial approach and curious nature, it is hard to imagine that no one raised a question over the presence of cameras inside a courtroom. It is hoped that the court’s findings will answer these questions. Institutions such as the judiciary cannot display any tolerance for rule-breakers, nor cannot it afford favourites.

The concerned channel’s mature response to criticism is a masterpiece in itself. Footage of a government employee retiring is a “big story”, attained through “hard word”, and requiring “journalistic skills” in order to serve “public interest”. Utter nonsense. All this has made crystal clear is that the ‘populist tendencies’ and ‘addiction to public adulation’ that the outgoing CJ was often criticized for, were not just the vicious barbs of jealous detractors.

Perhaps, a journalistic award could be announced; for the most blatantly self-righteous shrieking in the face of an absolute wrong, this side of the Suez. Those who fail to see beyond “competition” often believe that everyone else obsesses over it in the same fashion that they do. It is not so. Why else would everyone be “smoking cigarettes” and “drinking hot cups of tea”, while their rivals ensure that valuable information is “unearthed” for the “general public”? If they hadn’t done what they did, “investigative journalism” will “die down”, leaving behind the boring stuff e.g. “reporting” and “analysis” and following Article 25 of the Supreme Court Act.