Thursday December 07, 2023

Reference against Justice Faez Isa: Purchase price of one property not cited

June 04, 2019

SLAMABAD: The purchase price of one British property acquired by the spouse and daughter of Supreme Court judge, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, as claimed by the government in its reference filed against him with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), is not mentioned, and is thus not known.

However, such prices of two other London properties, obtained in 2013, have been given in the reference, which reads like a charge-sheet against the judge in the same manner as is done in the case of other accused. The purchase prices of these two properties are £270,000 and £245,000 (or Rs77.76 million when both the amounts are converted into Pak rupees at the 2013 exchange rate of Rs151 per pound sterling).

None of the three properties is in the name of Justice Qazi Faez Isa. They are owned by his wife and children. No precise price has been quoted by the reference for the property located at 50 Coniston Court, Kendal Street, London W2 2AN, which, the reference asserted, is owned by Justice Isa’s wife Zarina Montserrat Khoso Carrera and daughter Sehr Isa Khoso.

According to the case, this property having the Title Number NGL921691 was registered with HM Land Registry on October 20, 2011. There is no mortgage charge or loan on it. This is a leasehold property and new lease was granted by the freeholder in October 2011. The property portals indicate that it was last sold in March 2004 for £236,000. However, reference said the current market value of this property is approximately £600,000.

The reference put the market value of this property quite higher than those fixed for the two other properties. According to it, one property had the market value £400,000 while the other had £438,000.

An amount of £270,000 was paid for the property known as 40, Oakdale Road, London E11 4DL owned by Zarina Montserrat Khoso Carrera and Arsalan Isa Khoso, having the title number of NGL 98543, registered with HM Land Registry on June 28, 2013. There is no loan, charge or mortgage on this property. Its current market value is approximately £400,000.

The third property with title number of EGL 322197, located at 90 Adelaide Road, London E10 5NW, owned by Zarina Montserrat Khoso Carrera and Sehr Isa Khoso, was registered with HM Land Registry on April 3, 2013. The price paid on March 27 was £245,000. There is no mortgage, charge or loan on this property. Its current market value is approximately £438,000, according to the reference.

For all the three properties, the reference cited their prevailing market values, which are obviously more than the purchase prices as happens everywhere after some years. The total market values of the three properties come to £1,438,000 (or Rs266.03 million when converted into Pak rupees at the prevailing exchange rate of Rs185 to one pound sterling).

Justice Isa faces at four serious allegations. One, he violated two Articles II and III of the Code of Conduct for the judges issued by the SJC in 2009. Article-II says a Judge should be God-fearing, law-abiding, abstemious, truthful of tongue, wise in opinion, cautious and forbearing, blameless, and untouched by greed. While dispensing justice, he should be strong without being rough, polite without being weak, awe inspires in his warnings and faithful to his word, always preserving calmness, balance and complete detachment, for the formation of correct conclusions in all matters coming before him. In the matter of taking his seat and of rising from his seat, he shall be punctilious in point of time, mindful of the courtesies, careful to preserve the dignity of the Court, while maintaining an equal aspect towards all litigants as well as lawyers appearing before him.

Article-III says to be above reproach, and for this purpose to keep his conduct in all things, official and private, free from impropriety is expected of a Judge. The second accusation is the money laundering. The reference alleged that the source to acquire the foreign properties by Justice Isa’s wife is not accounted for. Therefore, the SJC should probe into the matter to assess whether these properties were acquired through money laundering. The third allegation is that the judge violated the Section 116 (1) (b) and Section 116 (2) of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 by concealing foreign properties of his wife.

The four accusation is that Justice Isa violated his oath. The reference said that the oath of a judge of superior court is contained in the third schedule to the Constitution which provides that a judge shall abide by the SJC code of conduct. The oath also states that a judge of the superior court shall preserve, protect and defend the constitution. And the constitution, its Article 5(2), inter alia, states that obedience to the constitution and law is an inviolable obligation of every citizen.

The fifth charge is the mis-declaration that the reference said seems glaring. It alleged that Justice Isa appears to have committed gross misconduct and is liable to be removed upon the recommendation of the SJC in term of Article 209 of the constitution.