Supreme Judicial Council meeting postponed

Published April 14, 2021
The review petitions have been filed against the June 19, 2020 apex court judgement about the presidential reference against Justice Isa. —  DawnNewsTV/File
The review petitions have been filed against the June 19, 2020 apex court judgement about the presidential reference against Justice Isa. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) scheduled for Wednesday (today) has been postponed and it is now expected to meet on April 28 when it may consider proceeding afresh against Justice Qazi Faez Isa on the basis of the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) findings on three offshore properties it has received.

The SJC meeting was postponed in view of the regular hearing of a set of review petitions, which a 10-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial will commence from Wednesday (today), an informed source told Dawn.

The review petitions have been filed against the June 19, 2020 apex court judgement about the presidential reference against Justice Isa.

Justice Bandial has already said that he will not attend the SJC meeting since he headed the 10-member bench of the Supreme Court which decided the petitions against the presidential reference and now is hearing the review petitions.

The SJC chairman, Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, according to June 19, 2020 short order by a 10-judge apex court, had to lay before the commission the report furnished by the FBR for consideration, action or proceedings, if any.

According to the source, the SJC may take up the FBR’s report under which it imposed a whopping tax penalty of Rs35 million on Sarina Isa, the wife of Justice Isa, on Sept 14, 2020, over non-declaration of three offshore properties registered in her name and her children’s names.

Commissioner Inland Revenue and International Taxes Zone Zulfiqar Ahmed had issued the 164-page order in September explaining the tax liability against Ms Isa for possessing three properties in the UK.

Soon after the FBR report, Ms Isa in a statement criticised the decision of imposing the penalty and accused Mr Ahmed of issuing the order without hearing her even once. She termed the FBR’s decision a piece of fiction and said that she would prefer instituting an appeal against it soon.

Though the June 19, 2020, short order had quashed the reference against Justice Isa and as a consequence the proceedings pending in the SJC, including the show-cause notice of July 17, 2019, also stand abated, the split verdict with a majority of seven to three also had ordered the commissioner inland revenue to issue appropriate notices under the Income Tax Ordinance (ITO) 2001 to the wife and children of Justice Isa.

Justice Isa’s wife and children, under the judgement, had to furnish their replies to the notices along with evidence and on the receipt of the replies the commissioner was required to give an opportunity of hearing to Ms Isa and her children and issue an order in accordance with the ITO.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2021

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