AGP contends SJC should hear Justice Isa case
Full Court to resume hearing on pleas against presidential reference on Wednesday
A full-court bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday heard petitions challenging the presidential reference against Supreme Court judge, Qazi Faez Isa.
The reference was filed in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in May 2019 against the judge over allegations of hiding his London assets in his wealth statement.
The federal government in Tuesday’s hearing contended that the SJC should determine whether Justice Isa’s actions come under misconduct or not.
The full-court bench is being headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and includes Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed.
“The allegation is Justice Qazi Faez Isa hasn’t declared his London properties while filing tax,” Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan told the 10-judge bench.
The AGP raised the following questions.
“Can the Supreme Judicial Council’s proceedings after a show-cause notice be challenged?
“Is getting details of undeclared assets spying?
“The SJC is asked to oversee if the properties belong to Justice Isa or not.
“A judge should dispense justice fearlessly and impartiality. SJC will look into such matters.
“It is perceived that London assets have direct links with Justice Isa and it is also perceived that he paid for the foreign assets.
He read out the oath taken by the judges and said the judicial officers are bound to obey the code of conduct.
He pointed out that the apex court judge has admitted that the London properties are owned by his wife and children.
The judge has filed the petition seeking to quash the presidential reference on technical grounds.
Anwar Mansoor Khan questioned the executive’s role in case it receives any information against an incumbent judge and asked if it should carry out a probe into the matter or not.
The AGP said the level of honesty and law-abidingness expected of a judge was more than that of an ordinary citizen.
When the AGP cited the presidential reference stating that Justice Isa had violated Section 116 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, Justice Bandial remarked that the violation was already thrashed out by the petitioner and he directed the AGP to relay other obligations.
The attorney general made some unwarranted remarks regarding the full-court which irked the judges.
The AGP took back his unreasonable statement and the court ordered the media not to quote those comments.
The hearing of the high-profile case will resume on Tuesday (tomorrow).
A total of nine pleas have been filed against the presidential reference.
The petitioners are Justice Isa, Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan Bar Council, Balochistan Bar Council, Sindh Bar Council, Balochistan High Court Bar Association, Sindh High Court Bar Association, District Bar Association of Quetta and constitutional expert and senior lawyer Abid Hasan Minto along with human rights champion IA Rhman.