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ISLAMABAD: Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik said the chief justice does not have “unfettered discretion” regarding constitution of benches.

Justice Manzoor was part of the majority that overturned the Supreme Court order to refer the matter to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to investigate the tax record of Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s wife Sarina Isa.

In his separate note on the composition of bench for hearing review petitions against the Supreme Court judgment on Presidential Reference, he wrote: “I would like to observe that the term ‘master of roster’ … cannot be understood to mean that the HCJ has unfettered discretion regarding constitution of benches.”

“The discretion vested in the office of the HCJ for constitution of benches is to be exercised in a structured manner according to the Supreme Court Rules, 1980,” said Justice Manzoor Malik note, uploaded on the SC's website on Wednesday.

A six-judge larger bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial on February 22, 2021 had referred the matter for constituting a larger to Chief Justice of Pakistan for hearing of the Justice Qazi Faez and others review petitions against the Presidential Reference.

However, Justice Manzoor disagreed with that order and decided to write a separate note.

“I have read the order. I agree with the conclusion drawn regarding numerical strength of review Bench. However, I would attach my separate note for remaining findings/observations given in the order.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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