ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday a review petition seeking deletion of the court’s directives in its June 19 majority judgement requiring verification by the tax authorities of three offshore properties in the name of the wife and children of Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
“These directives, observations and contents from paragraphs three to 11 are unnecessary, superfluous, contradictory, excessive and unlawful and thus liable to be deleted from the short order,” pleaded the petition filed through SCBA president Syed Qalb-e-Hassan.
In the earlier round, the SCBA was represented before a 10-judge SC bench by senior counsel Hamid Khan.
“It appears from paragraphs three to 11 that the majority of judges on the bench wanted to bring the wife and children of the judge before the tax authorities to fulfil the requirements of due process of law and accountability,” the review petition contended, adding that this purpose had adequately been served through paragraphs 13 to 14 authored by three judges of the apex court in their minority order. “Thus the directives and observations contained in paragraphs three to 11 are superfluous, unnecessary and therefore liable to be struck out,” it argued.
Apex court formally frames charges against cleric in contempt case; judge’s wife files affidavit raising 24 questions
The review petition pleaded that timelines or deadlines given to the income tax authorities with regard to the proceedings against the wife and children of Justice Faez Isa of the Supreme Court were clearly illegal because the Income Tax Ordinance (ITO) 2001 and other related laws have no such provisions for holding the proceedings purportedly to be held under Section 116 or other related provisions of the ITO.
Moreover, it said, when the reference had been quashed, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) became functus officio for the purpose of this case. “Thus it is beyond the jurisdiction of SJC to take notice of any future report against the judge when admittedly assets and properties of the judge are no more in question and there is no misconduct alleged by anybody against the judge. Therefore, the June 19 majority order is void being unconstitutional and is liable to be reviewed in the interest of justice,” the review petition said.
The SCBA asked under what provision of law and the Constitution the matter relating the assets and properties of the spouse and children of the judge had been referred to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) by the court, when they were neither a party to the proceedings before the SJC nor before the apex court in the proceedings under Article 184(3).
“The Supreme Court has referred the matter to the FBR without assigning any reasons,” the petition contended, adding that under Section 122 of the ITO certain substantive and procedural safeguards had been provided for the protection of taxpayers, including a period of limitation for amending an assessment.
Charges framed against cleric
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed formally framed charges against Rawalpindi-based cleric Mirza Iftikharuddin for committing contempt of the court.
“Certified that the charge has been framed, read over and explained to the accused in the open court,” said the one-page charge read out to the accused, asking him whether he heard and understood the charge, did he plead guilty to the charge and did he have any defence.
Sarkar Abbas, the counsel for Mirza Iftikhar, sought time to consult his client whether he pleads guilty or not to the charge.
Meanwhile, Serena Isa, wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, also filed an affidavit raising 24 questions and alleging that the manner in which this crime had been dealt with confirms that a more direct method to remove her husband has now been planned.
Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan, however, said he would go through the contents of the affidavit and furnish his response when the case would be taken up again next week.
In her affidavit, Ms Isa asked why no FIR had been registered by police on her complaint regarding death threats to her husband and said she was convinced that the guilty was being protected.
“Is every FIR in this country registered after taking instructions from the interior ministry? Why her application was sent to FIA after a day with the excuse of some minor crime having been committed but by ignoring the serious crime of terrorism? Why the accused cleric was not arrested when he entered the Supreme Court on June 26 in the contempt of the court case?” she asked.
She said that had the cleric been arrested immediately and his cell phones, computers and cameras taken into possession, he would not have had an opportunity to wipe out information which would have shown who he worked for.
“Why was a ‘terrorist’ given six days to remove this vital information? Why his residence and office were not searched, what is his source of livelihood and why did this man malign the army and display the photographs of the army chief in his video clip?” the affidavit asked.
Ms Isa also asked why Mirza Shahzad Akbar, head of the Assets Recovery Unit, was not questioned and why the complainant in the reference against Justice Isa was not questioned. “Was the head of the ISI contacted in respect of such a serious threat? Will these questions be answered or was it permissible to paint a target on apex court judge?” she asked.
Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020