SC to resume hearing in Justice Isa reference tomorrow

Updated October 13, 2019

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Justice Qazi Faez Isa has filed multiple petitions in the Supreme Court regarding presidential references. — SC website/File
Justice Qazi Faez Isa has filed multiple petitions in the Supreme Court regarding presidential references. — SC website/File

ISLAMABAD: As a full court of the Supreme Court will resume hearing of petitions challenging the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa on Monday, one of the counsel has sought permission from the court to approve his absence for a week.

Consequently, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa approved his leave from Oct 14 to 21 but with a condition that the general adjournment will not apply to cases fixed before the larger bench or the full court.

Rasheed A. Razvi, senior counsel and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) who is representing the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA), had filed an application on Sept 28 in which he had sought general adjournment from Oct 14 to 21.

In return, the SC office informed the counsel that his request for the general adjournment had been approved by the CJP but with a condition that his leave would not apply for the period when the cases before the larger bench would be taken up.

Apex court has approved leave of SHCBA lawyer Rasheed Razvi

Headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, the full court consisting of 10 SC judges will resume hearing of a set of petitions from Oct 14.

At the last hearing on Oct 8, Advocate Razvi had informed the full court about his inability to appear in the proceedings since he had to go abroad because of some preoccupation. At this the court had allowed him to proceed abroad though the hearing will take place on Monday as usual.

Justice Bandial had also explained before the lawyers representing a number of petitioners that the court intended to decide the petitions as early as possible because of want of availability of one of the members of the bench after two weeks.

Moreover, Justice Bandial had stated that it was not easy to engage 10 judges at the cost of litigants by compromising the roster of the court which was affecting adversely.

Earlier on Sept 23, senior counsel Muneer A. Malik, who was representing the main petitioner Justice Qazi Faez Isa, had also moved two applications for adjournment because of his ailment.

The first application was moved on Sept 19 by the same lawyer with a request to approve his general adjournment from Sept 23 to Oct 4. But the SC office had informed him that though his application had been allowed by the CJP, the adjournment will not apply on the dates when the petitions challenging the reference will be taken up by the 10-judge full court on Sept 24.

Consequently, a second application was filed highlighting that Advocate Malik had suffered a heart attack in the early morning of Sept 18 and two stents had to be implanted in his arteries with doctors suggesting the counsel to take at least two weeks of complete rest.

Meanwhile, a number of replies have already been filed before the SC by the federal government, Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), SJC secretary as well as Attorney General Anwar Mansoor to rebut the allegations levelled in the main petition by Justice Isa.

In response, Advocate Malik had to file rejoinders to all the government replies by Saturday. But it is expected that these rejoinders will be filed by the counsel on Monday before the commencement of the petitions’ hearing.

But a set of additional documents has already been filed by Justice Isa before the SC, mainly a number of news clippings of statements of different politicians like former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ahmed, stories about filing of reference against him, joint press release of the law ministry and Assets Recovery Unit, SJC’s press release, etc.

The apex court is seized with a number of petitions moved by Justice Isa, SCBA, Pakistan Bar Council, Abid Hasan Minto, High Court Bar Association Quetta president Abdul Basit, Quetta Bar Association president Mohammad Asif Reki, the SHCBA, Balochistan Bar Council, Sindh Bar Council and others.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2019