Single member bench verdict to release Najfi Report is classic example of misdirection in Law

LAHORE: The Punjab government counsel Khawaja Haris told Lahore High court larger bench that single member bench verdict regarding the release of Baqar Najfi Report is a classic example of misdirection in law and court didn’t give chance to govt. to submit its written response.

Resuming his arguments on the government’s appeal against the decision of releasing the Model Town inquiry, Advocate Khwaja Harris stated that the petitioners before the single bench had not approached the court with clean hands.

Questioning the procedure adopted by the single judge to decide the petition by the individuals, he said the provincial government was not given opportunity to file its written reply especially on a point whether the inquiry report was a judicial document.

He said before the issuance of the impugned verdict, different single benches had referred three different petitions on the subject to a full bench already seized with the similar matter.

However, he said, in the instant case the lawyers of the petitioners had committed a fraud by telling the single bench that the matter pending before the full bench was entirely different.

Advocate Harris said justice was not seen to be done while passing the impugned verdict for the release of Justice Najafi’s report. He said the impugned judgment was a classic case of misdirection in law, and it didn’t take into consideration settled laws.

Arguments of the government’s counsel were in progress when the full bench headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh adjourned further hearing till Oct 10. Mr Harris is yet to start his arguments on the merits of the impugned judgment as he has been highlighting procedural flaws committed by the single bench taking up and deciding the petition that demanded release of the inquiry report, withheld by the government.

Earlier, Advocate Harris presented before the bench a summary of the law secretary about his appointment as private counsel for the government in the case. The judges of the bench expressed satisfaction on the reasons given in the summary and returned the same to the counsel.

The bench did not allow Advocate Khwaja Tariq Rahim and Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, counsel for the respondents, to go through the summary and asked them to file a separate application if they wanted to place the summary on record. The court would decide that application on merit, Justice Sheikh observed.

A single bench comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi had on Sept 21 ordered the Punjab home secretary to make the “Justice Najafi report” public and also provide the same to the families of those killed and injured in the incident.