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SC adjourns review petitions in Justice Isa case till today

Written by The Frontier Post

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of review petitions in Justice Qazi Faez Isa case till Thursday.

A 10-member larger SC bench comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Aminuddin Khan heard the review petitions seeking removal of paragraphs 2 to 11 of the June 19, 2020 verdict. On June 19, 2020, seven judges of a 10-judge bench quashed a presidential reference against Justice Isa but also ordered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct an inquiry into the judge’s family members’ foreign assets and submit a report to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

During the course of proceedings, Justice Isa said he would submit written response over three questions asked by the court during the previous hearing on Tuesday. A judge was not a government employee, he added.

Upon this, Justice Bandial said the Supreme Court had ruled that the judges were also part of the Service of Pakistan. He asked whether corruption was not a problem for the judges. Job security did not mean that a judge could do whatever he wanted, and fortunately, it was not a case of corruption, he added.

Justice Isa said the lawyers of bar councils had submitted their written arguments.

Justice Bandial said he was not sensible enough to be satisfied with the written arguments. The court’s attitude should be the same with every litigant, he added.

Hamid Khan, a lawyer for the bar councils, argued that the Supreme Judicial Council became inactive with the revocation of reference.

He said the matter should not had been referred to the FBR as the decision in that regard was wrong.

He said it was clear that the presidential reference was annulled. When the reference was annulled, the matter was also settled in the Supreme Judicial Council and no further action could be taken, he added.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar said there was no mention of revocation of reference in the court’s decision, which stated that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) would review the FBR’s content. The decision further stated that the matter should be placed before the SJC, which could take further action using its suo moto jurisdiction, he added.

Justice Bandial said information could be provided as long as the Council was not inactive.

Hamid Khan said the children and family were neither parties in the Supreme Judicial Council nor in the Supreme Court. They were not made parties in any case and on any platform.

Addressing Hamid Khan, Justice Bandial said he wanted to say that the judge’s code of conduct did not include his children and family. There was a court decision in that regard and a judge should also be very careful about his family and children. The issue of assets beyond means was very important, he added.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah questioned whether a decision could be given without hearing a person.

Hamid Khan said if Justice Isa’s family was not a party here then how could action be taken against them. They could not be made a party under Article 209, nor did the Code of Conduct for Judges mention about it, he added.

Justice Bandial said the apex court had made observations regarding the families of judges. The case for assets beyond means was not limited to public officials, he added.

Hamid Khan said if the wife and children were not dependent (on a judge) then the case could not be filed. The Judicial Council was not a permanent body, it could only be formed if there was a reference, he added.

On which Justice said that the SJC was permanent and he was a part of it but he separated himself from its proceedings.

Hamid Khan said taking a suo motu notice was at the SJC’s discretion, which, however, could not be directed to do so.

Justice Bandial said the FBR report had not been reviewed by the Judicial Council till date. The Registrar had the material to present to the Council, he added.

Hamid Khan, lawyer for the Suprene Court Bar, Pakistan Bar Council and Balochistan Bar, completed his arguments, which were adopted by Rashid Rizvi, lawyer for the Sindh Bar Council and Pakistan Fede-ral Union of Journalists.

When Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman started giving arguments on behalf of the Federal Government, he was directed by Justice Bandial him to provide his written submissions to the court.

Aamir Rehman said it was stated that Sarina Isa did not get a chance to be heard. She had testified in the court and presented documents, he said, adding the review petitions could only address errors in the decision.

The government’s lawyer said Sarina Isa was heard without being a party. There should be no restrictions on the right to a fair trial, he added.

He said that the court did not rule against Sarina Isa.

He said that the court decision directed the review of statements in accordance with the law. Even if the Supreme Court had not taken the notice, the FBR could took notice on its own, he added.

Justice Yahya Afridi asked under which law instructions had been given to the tax authorities. It was a very sensitive case so the court gave a deadline and giving a deadline to the FBR was not an illegal order, he added.

The Additional Attorney General said Sarina Isa was given a full opportunity of a formal hearing.

Justice Bandial said according to Justice Qazi Faez Isa and his wife the FBR did not take notice.

On this, Justice Faez Isa said he never raised that point and his lawyer had stated it.

Aamir Rehman said according to the FBR, Sarina Isa could not explain the sources of income. The points raised had been discussed in the court decision, he added.

Justice Bandial said the FBR reviewed the matter only under the tax laws.

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