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SJC quashes misconduct reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on Monday quashed a reference against Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa, saying the allegations against him were not “serious or grave enough to constitute misconduct sufficient for his removal”.

The Council was hearing a reference alleging that Justice Isa had violated the code of conduct for judges by writing two letters to President of Pakistan Arif Alvi. The reference, filed by Advocate Waheed Shahzad Butt under Article 209 of the Constitution, was one of two pending references against the Supreme Court judge.

Justice Isa had written letters to President Alvi after the law minister instituted a presidential reference against him for allegedly possessing properties in the United Kingdom in the name of wife and children.

In the second reference, Advocate Butt had contended that by repeatedly writing letters “instead of explaining the sources of funds for such acquisition of properties”, Justice Isa had violated the code of conduct for judges of the superior courts. Advocate Butt had also alleged that the letters were leaked to the media to generate unnecessary public controversy, that the language used in the letters was offensive, that the judge had unduly targeted the Prime Minister and leveled unsubstantiated allegations against President Alvi and other federal cabinet members.

But, in its order issued on Monday, the Supreme Judicial Council noted that Advocate Butt had not alleged that the contents of the letters had been leaked to the media by Justice Isa himself.

“We have also questioned the informant (Butt) appearing before us in person today in that regard and he has not been able to produce anything before us to establish that the respondent-Judge (Justice Isa) had revealed or disclosed anything about his relevant letters to anybody,” the SJC noted in its conclusions.

The Council said the absence of such an allegation against Justice Isa reduces the reference to “merely to writing of private letters by him to the President”, which “may not ipso facto amount to misconduct on the part of the Judge”.

“The purpose or the contents of such letters might appear to some to be oblique or objectionable but such letters were merely private letters not shown to be meant or intended to be read by anybody other than the addressee and those to whom they had been copied,” it noted.

Regarding the contents of the letter, the Council said the judge might have “subjectively felt a sense of persecution” after a presidential reference was filed against him.

It also noted that Justice Isa was under stress due to the medical condition of his daughter and father-in-law, which “might have aggravated his sense of harassment and might have contributed towards outrunning of his discretion”.

“In this view of the matter, the alleged impropriety in the private letters written by the respondent-Judge to the President has not been found by us to be serious or grave enough to constitute misconduct sufficient for his removal from the exalted office of a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” concluded the Supreme Judicial Council.

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