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Plea to stop Riaz-Arsalan case probe rejected

October 02, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Oct 2: The Supreme Court turned down on Tuesday a request to stop the court-appointed commission from investigating allegations of a Rs342 million business deal between property tycoon Riaz Malik and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

Advocate Zahid Bokhari, the counsel for Riaz Malik, insisted that the court should recall its August 30 order in which it had appointed Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr Mohammad Shoaib Suddle as a one-man commission on a petition of Dr Arsalan.

Instead, he said, the court should enforce its June 14 ruling in the supreme interest of justice in which it had ordered Attorney General Irfan Qadir to set the state machinery in motion and investigate the matter.

But a two-judge bench comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain which had taken up a review petition of Malik Riaz rejected the request and postponed the proceedings to Oct 30. In his petition, Malik Riaz argued that the Aug 30 verdict was not sustainable in law because it had resulted in miscarriage of justice.

The petition said the court had no authority under any provision of the Constitution or the Supreme Court Rules 1980 to appoint a commission on a review petition without declaring the June 14 order illegal and incorrect.

“The Aug 30 ruling amounts to give preferential treatment to a party,” the petition said, adding that the court was not justified in delegating judicial powers of a police executive officer to the one-man commission. Similarly, the commission could not perform judicial function.

The petition contended that the court could also not delegate its power to the commission which performed only ministerial function, the extent and scope of which was limited, narrow and clearly defined in the Supreme Court Rules.

The court had appointed the commission without finding any illegality in its earlier order of giving direction to the attorney general. Instead the court decided to change the investigation and appoint an investigator on a review petition which amounted to changing the law of review, the petition said.