Bars question SC bench formation for Isa case review pleas

Updated 28 Oct 2020

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Four premier bar associations of the country have questioned the hearing of review petitions in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case by a seven-judge Supreme Court bench from Wednesday. — Photo courtesy SC website/File
Four premier bar associations of the country have questioned the hearing of review petitions in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case by a seven-judge Supreme Court bench from Wednesday. — Photo courtesy SC website/File

ISLAMABAD: Four premier bar associations of the country have questioned the hearing of review petitions in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case by a seven-judge Supreme Court bench from Wednesday after a 10-judge full court has heard and decided the constitutional petitions against the filing of the presidential reference.

In their joint but one-page application, the Supreme Court Bar Association, Quetta Bar Association president Mohammad Asif Reki, Punjab Bar Council vice chairman Shahnawaz Ismail and Balochistan Bar Council vice chairman Munir Ahmed Kakar have also requested the SC to postpone the proceedings and place the matter before the Chief Justice of Pakistan to form a larger bench comprising all the judges who had decided the constitutional petitions against the filing of the reference.

Sarina raises doubt over handling of matter by FBR officials

Set to commence the hearing of eight review petitions from Wednesday (today) against the June 19 short order in the Justice Isa case, the seven-judge larger bench comprises Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin.

While deciding the constitutional petitions against the filing of the presidential reference against Justice Isa earlier, the same bench through paragraphs three to 11 in the June 19 short order had quashed the presidential reference filed before Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) yet ordered the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) to seek explanation from his family about their property and furnish a report to the SJC.

Eight review petitions seeking to revisit the paragraphs three to 11 of the court order were filed by the SCBA, Sindh High Court Bar Association, QBA president, Punjab Bar Council vice chairman, Advocate Abid Hassan Minto and Pakistan Bar Council, besides Justice Isa and his wife Sarina.

In the review pleas, the petitioners argued that the directives/observations or contents of paragraphs three to 11 in the June 19 short order were unnecessary, superfluous, contradictory, excessive and unlawful and thus liable to be deleted since it constituted mistake and error apparently on the face of the record and were thus liable to be reviewed and deleted.

In the fresh application, the bar associations contended that the detailed reasons for the June 19 short order were released on Oct 22 and, therefore, the review petitions that had been filed earlier needed to be amended suitably after consultation with the respective petitioners.

Meanwhile, Sarina Isa has raised doubt over the handling of the matter by the FBR officials after a subordinate of the FBR chairman in response to her previous letter disclosed that the report had been “submitted before the honourable Supreme Judicial Council” and that it was “confidential”.

In her fresh letter, dated Oct 27, to FBR (CbCR) secretary Ali Saeed, Ms Isa asked if the report was confidential and only the chairman was supposed to submit it to the SJC, how he was privy to it. She also questioned the ‘secrecy’ being maintained as according to her the official in his letter did not disclose who ordered him to respond to her Oct 9 letter that she had sent to the chairman. She said it seemed the matter was being influenced from the top.

Published in Dawn, October 28th, 2020