Lawyer asks SC to let SJC complete probe against Isa

Updated February 02, 2020

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A complainant, who had filed a second reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa for writing letters to the president but got it rejected, asked the Supreme Court on Saturday to let the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) complete its inquiry against the judge facing a presidential reference.  — Photo courtesy Supreme Court website/File
A complainant, who had filed a second reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa for writing letters to the president but got it rejected, asked the Supreme Court on Saturday to let the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) complete its inquiry against the judge facing a presidential reference. — Photo courtesy Supreme Court website/File

ISLAMABAD: A complainant, who had filed a second reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa for writing letters to the president but got it rejected, asked the Supreme Court on Saturday to let the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) complete its inquiry against the judge facing a presidential reference.

“The first available remedy is that SJC performs its duties as a constitutional body and conducts and completes the inquiry against Justice Qazi Faez Isa in a timely and efficient manner,” said Advocate Waheed Shahzad Butt — respondent No. 11 in the main challenge to the presidential reference.

A full court comprising 10 judges of the Supreme Court is seized with a set of petitions challenging the filing of the presidential reference against Justice Isa.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, who furnished the statement on behalf of Mr Butt, told Dawn that he had filed the concise statement or a rejoinder before the Supreme Court stating that the challenges to the filing of the presidential reference against Justice Isa were not maintainable since the SJC had already taken cognizance and initiated an inquiry against the judge.

On Aug 19, 2019, the SJC had rejected a second reference filed against Justice Isa by Mr Butt for writing letters to the president by holding that the alleged impropriety in the private letters written by the judge to the president had not been found by the SJC to be serious or grave enough to constitute misconduct sufficient for his removal from the exalted office of a judge of the Supreme Court.

Challenges to filing of presidential reference against the judge are not maintainable since the council has already initiated inquiry, the lawyer argues

In the statement, the complainant stated that under Procedure of Inquiry, 2005, the SJC enjoyed the authority to seek further material, data or proof to form its opinion to proceed in or reject the reference against the judge.

Article 8 of the Procedure of Inquiry, 2005 says if the SJC is of the opinion that it requires more material or seeks additional information before it can form any opinion, it can direct accordingly to any institution.

“To strengthen the independence of judiciary let SJC having exclusive jurisdiction to inquire and investigate the matter at hand decide the same within the four corners of law as directed under Article 4, 5 and 209 of the Constitution,” the statement said.

It also emphasised that it was the need of the hour that taxing laws in particular must be enforced in such a manner that people themselves voluntarily and honestly paid the taxes because tax cheating could only be eradicated when fiscal laws were implemented in the true sense and nobody was spared, even if he was a judge, minister or MNA or MPA or any public office holder.

Accountability should start from the highest level, the statement said, adding that ethics and morality had taken a back seat in the country’s scheme of things and that corruption could be beaten if all worked together.

Such a motivation could only be infused among the people by eliminating the fear of being exploited by the machinery (tax authorities), the statement said. Such motivation would encourage the people to join the list of taxpayers, consequently stabilising financial position of the state and helping the nation get rid of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, but unfortunately some people were involved in cheating the system, it added.

The complainant requested the court to graciously consider submissions made in the statement at the time of disposal of the petitions and other connected matters in the challenges to the reference.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2020