ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) may ask Attorney General Anwar Mansoor to come up with replies to the stand taken by two superior court judges facing presidential references when it resumes hearing on them on July 12.
An informed source privy to the development told Dawn that the SJC had already issued a notice to the attorney general, asking him to come up with replies to the written submissions furnished by Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice K.K. Agha of the Sindh High Court rejecting the allegations made by the federal government in the references.
It is not necessary that the two judges facing references should appear before the council when the proceedings are held for a third time on July 12.
A five-member SJC consisting of Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh and Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth is hearing the references against Justice Isa and Justice Agha for allegedly possessing properties in the United Kingdom.
The council will take up the references a day before a planned joint meeting of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on July 13 on the premises of the Peshawar High Court. The convention is being called to launch an awareness campaign throughout the country to muster support for initiating a full-fledged movement for the sake of independence of the judiciary. A number of conventions are also being proposed in different cities of the country.
PBC vice chairman Syed Amjad Shah told Dawn that as usual the council and the SCBA would hold a demonstration outside the Supreme Court in protest against the filing of the references by the government. Like earlier sessions, representatives of different bar councils and bar associations would be invited to join the protest demonstration.
On July 2, the SJC had held a brief hearing in which attorney general was not summoned. It is believed that the SJC during its session took up the written replies the judges had filed to rebut the allegations levelled against them by the government in the references.
On June 14, the council in its first preliminary hearing had provided the contents of the references to the judges with a directive to volunteer and clarify their position on the allegations levelled against them. However, none of the judges had been issued any formal show-cause notice under the Supreme Judicial Council Procedure of Enquiry 2005.
The judges were provided the opportunity to volunteer their response to the allegations under Section 8(3) of the enquiry rules. The section suggests that if the council is of the view that before forming an opinion it should also hear the judge under the enquiry, it will require the accused judge to present himself before the council, which will provide him the information and the material received against him.
Earlier, the SJC had clarified that it received 426 complaints or references and all of them were processed and after going through different stages of process, 398 cases were disposed of but only 28 cases, including the two presidential references, were pending before it.
Moreover, all such cases are in process and will be disposed of in due course of time, the SJC announcement explained, dispelling the impression that around 350 references were pending before it.
Leaders of the PBC and SCBA have been demanding that the SJC make public the outcome of the complaints processed by the council.
Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2019