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ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa said answering questions will be effectively endorsing a patent illegality and undermining his own case.

Justice Bandial on April 20, 2021, before rising had asked Justice Qazi Faez Isa three questions: “You [Justice Isa] have nothing to do with the bank accounts of your wife?” “You [Justice Isa] are unaware of money withdrawn or deposited in those accounts?” “You have no knowledge of the debit and credit entries of your wife’s accounts?” and whatever spent from those accounts you are not concerned?”

He had directed Justice Qazi Faez Isa to respond to the questions by tomorrow (Wednesday).

A 10-member larger bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Aminud Din Khan, on Wednesday, heard the review petitions of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), and the provincial bar councils and associations, and the petition of Sarina Isa against the apex court judgment on Presidential Reference.

Justice Faez submitted a statement, which answered the questions.

According to it, “If the petitioner [Justice Faez] answers them then he will effectively be endorsing a patent illegality and undermine his own case that nothing can be added to the reference. It is not appropriate to introduce the report at the stage of hearing of the said review applications. If the petitioner responds to the queries it will become (i) Reference, (ii) plus rejoinder, (iii) plus SJC’s questions, (iv) plus petitioner’s wife and children (v) plus FBR, (vi) plus chairman FBR’s report (vii) plus SJC empowered to proceed against the petitioner on the basis of the report, and (viii) and the questions”.

Justice Faez corrected the misconception about meetings with Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

The statement stated: “That the petitioner states on oath that he has never once discussed his case with the lordship [Justice Bandial]. The petitioner does not even go to the tearoom because it will be inappropriate to sit with his colleagues who are hearing his case.” Justice Faez stated he had also requested in writing that the chief justice should not make him sit in any bench with any of the lordships hearing his case.

The statement states: “Justice Bandial was ever so kind to send a bottle of honey from his farm, which was returned with thanks as it may create misgivings.”

It also says: “The petitioner and his wife have also politely declined all private invitations extended by any judge because it will bring them in private contact with those hearing their cases. On the retirement of Justice Faisal Arab the petitioner attended his lordship’s reference and the official dinners held in the premises of the Supreme Court, but for the stated reasons declined all private invitations held in his honour.”

“The petitioner has interacted with the Justice Umar Ata Bandial when performing his duties and to maintain a healthy and happy working relationship,” concluded Justice Faez Isa's statement.

During the course of proceedings, advocate Hamid Khan, representing Pakistan Bar Council and the Quetta Bar Council, argued that the apex court has already quashed the reference, adding that the matter which has already come to an end cannot be revived.

Upon that Justice Muneeb remarked that the court through short order had asked the FBR to investigate Sarina Isa’s tax record and submit a report before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and the Council after examining it may initiate suo moto proceedings regarding the matter.

Hamid Khan argued that the spouse and children of Justice Faez Isa were party neither before the apex court nor the SJC; therefore, they could not be made party in any of their proceedings.

Justice Bandial said the proceedings under Article 209 do not espouse that the conduct of children of a judge could be examined. He, however, said there is Supreme Court judgment of 2012, wherein, a child of a judge was accused of wrongdoing.

Certain directions were passed in that judgment that the families of the judges have to be careful, he added.

The judge further said there are laws in Pakistan which say the public office-holders are responsible for their children and spouses as well.

Hamid Khan argued that the SJC is not continuing body, adding, that “it springs to life when it has to make an inquiry”.

He said the SC’s short order contains directions to the Council and the FBR.

He questioned how the SJC would take a suo motu action regarding the matter when the apex court had given its direction.

Justice Bandial inquired: Can the “Supreme Court direct the Council for consideration of any material?”

He further asked if the material is already available with the SJC can it start suo moto proceeding?

Hamid Khan replied that the SJC cannot initiate proceedings on the FBR report.

He said in the instant matter the Council's prerogative will be compromised due to the short order.

Rasheed A Rizvi, appearing on behalf of the Karachi Bar Association and the PFUJ, adopted the arguments of Hamid Khan.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Amir Rehman argued that under Article 184(3) of Constitution the Supreme Court has vast power.

It can give direction for expeditious disposal of cases, he said, and added that the Supreme Court's directions in Reference were for the early disposal of the matter.

The bench inquired from the AAG whether the referral of the matter to the FBR violated any rights of the petitioner.

He replied in the negative, but added that the FBR report has been submitted in the SJC, and on Tuesday, the bench ordered that its copies be shared with the bench members and the parties.

Upon that Justice Maqbool Baqar asked him not to refer the report.

He said it is beyond the ambit of the Court and bench members to have a view of it. Justice Bandial said when the time will come they will see this matter.

The case was adjourned until today (Thursday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021