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SJC to take up presidential references next month

Top Story

May 31, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) will initiate next month, proceedings on the references filed by the federal government against judges of the Supreme Court and high courts under Article 209 of the Constitution.

According to sources, the Council will initiate proceeding on June 14 against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, senior Judge of the Supreme Court, and Justice Karim Khan Agha, Judge of the High Court of Sindh.

In this respect, the Council on Thursday issued a notice to Attorney General for Pakistan who will be the prosecutor in the instant proceedings.

The SJC is the only constitutional authority mandated by the Article 209 of the Constitution of Pakistan to conduct inquiries into allegations of incapacity or misconduct against a judge of the Supreme Court or of a high court.

The council consists of the chief justice of Pakistan, the two next senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, and the two most senior chief justices of high courts.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), the apex body of the legal fraternity, resolved to extend fullest support to the judges of the superior judiciary and vowed to defend them if any action was taken against them.

Likewise, the Peshawar High Court Bar Association vowed that the legal fraternity would not let down the judges of the superior judiciary andwill opt for any action in consultation with all organisations of lawyers in Pakistan.

Peshawar High Court Bar Association President Abdul Latif Afridi on Thursday said that the reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa is obviously to victimise him for his independent, straight forward, upright and honest expressions of opinion in cases like the Faizabad Dharna (sit-in) case and Quetta lawyers massacre inquiry commission report. He requested the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) to convene a meeting of all the lawyers’ organisations and representatives at the earliest to discuss such issues and chalk out a united strategy for further actions.

The federal government, the other day, reportedly filed references against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice KK Agha of Sindh High Court for allegedly having foreign properties but they did not disclose in their wealth statements.

President Arif Alvi had filed the references with the Supreme Judicial Council under Article 209 of the Constitution against these judges. There was no official confirmation on the part of Secretary Supreme Judicial Council. However, an official of the Ministry of Law and Justice when approached had confirmed to The News of filing of references against these judges.

Meanwhile, taking to journalists here in the Supreme Court on Thursday after holding meeting of the Executive Committee, President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Amanullah Kanrani extended full support to the judges of the superior courts and vowed to support them if any action was taken against them.

“It was not yet confirmed as to whether references were filed by the government against the judges of the superior courts but if any action was taken against them they will support the judges”, Kanrani told The News. He said that they will announce their course of strategy if filing of references was confirmed.

The SCBA president said that everybody has constitutional right to get a fair trial and there should not be media trial of anyone. Nobody has the right to level baseless allegations against a judge adding that a procedure is available in law and Constitution to proceed with.

He said that forefathers of Justice Qazi Faez Isa have played their significant role in the creation of Pakistan adding that he is an upright person and nobody has the right to injure the reputation of anyone. “We strongly protest over whosoever behind this move and will resist if any action was taken against the judges,” Kanrani said.

Meanwhile, the Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA) on Thursday said that the legal fraternity would not let down the judges of the superior judiciary and support them against the references filed against them.

In a statement issued by PHCBA president Abdul Latif Afridi, the association requested the Pakistan Bar Council to convene a meeting of all the lawyer bodies and representatives at the earliest to discuss such issues and chalk out a united strategy for further actions.

"The news that references have been filed against a judge of Supreme Court and two judges of high court has alarmed the legal fraternity and has caused serious concerns, as the judiciary as an institution is the ultimate arbiter between the state and its citizens. Such like references are obviously meant to undermine the independence of judiciary as judges were subjected to humiliation and disrespect in the eyes of the general public," the statement said.

It added that reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa is obviously to victimise him for his independent, straightforward, upright and honest expressions of opinion in cases like the Faizabad dharna (sit-in) case and Quetta lawyers massacre inquiry commission report.

The lawyer community, it added, fully understands the problems of both the judiciary and people of Pakistan, to which such tainted references are not an answer. However, the PHCBA warned that the legal fraternity would support the judges of the superior judiciary.

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