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February 20, 2020

Justice Faez Isa case: Supreme Court directs AG to produce proof or apologise

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February 20, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan to produce evidence supporting his statement that he had made about the bench or submit a written apology.

The court took strong exception to the manner in which the Attorney General was arguing his rebuttal and observed that instead of establishing his case, he was not fully prepared but only wasting the court's time. A ten-member full-court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial resumed hearing in the identical petitions challenging the presidential reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa for allegedly not disclosing his foreign properties in his wealth returns.

Other members of the bench include Justice Maqbool Baqir, Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Muhammad Qazi Amin Ahmed.

It is pertinent to mention here that Attorney General Anwar Mansoor the other day levelled allegations against the bench which irked the full court asking him to withdraw his statement.

Later on, after he withdrew his statement, the court restrained the media from publishing the allegation made by the AG against the bench.

On Wednesday, the court admonished the attorney general for wasting its time by focusing repeatedly on the definitions of misconduct of a judge instead of relying on facts for establishing his case.

The court directed the attorney general to submit evidence supporting his statement he made about the bench or if he did not, he should submit written apology.

“Certain statement was made by the attorney general about the bench and it would be appreciative that the material on the basis that he has made statement be placed before the bench,” the court noted down in its order.

“In case, no material was placed before this bench, we expect written apology from attorney general for having touch the matter,” the court further noted in its order. “It is not against one but every member of the bench,” the court added in the order.

The court further observed that the AG made submission on the definition of misconduct and what should be the conduct of a judge laid down in different judgments.

“We have asked him as to what is the factual basis for invoking these definition and discussion,” said the order, adding that in the present case, in order to understand the reference, he discloses prima facie misconduct against a judge.

The court granted time to attorney general to collect the facts that addresses the definition which he would like to read before it.

Earlier, at the outset of hearing, the court directed the AG to tell on the next date of hearing about the existing laws pertaining to declaring foreign assets and to assist the court as to whether these laws could also be applied on judges of the superior courts.

The court observed that it would have to be established legally that declaring the foreign assets of spouse and children was mandatory for the judge.

“A reference against a judge must be based on substantial material,” Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed, adding that if the reference is based on mala fide, judgments of the apex court are in field in this regard.

Addressing the AG, Justice Bandial inquired as to whether it is a reference or an FIR, adding that he was just wasting the court’s time by focusing on irrelevant things.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah asked the AG that his arguments would be irrelevant until and unless he establishes the misconduct of the judge.

Meanwhile, Justice Umar Ata Bandial said enough is enough and this is not the way the AG was arguing.

“You are just wasting our time and you did not make preparation for the instant case. Please don’t waste our time as what you wanted to say you did not make proper preparation for it,” Justice Bandial told the AG.

When the bench posed questions to AG, he used to say I will come to these. This prompted Justice Mansoor Ali Shah to tell AG, “You are saying everything but not replying our questions.” AG submitted that the Supreme Judicial Council has taken cognisance of reference and having taken cognisance, preliminary inquiry was held notice was issued to the petitioner judge to which he filed the reply but did not challenge the SJC.

Therefore, he said that the SJC considered the reply and later a show cause notice was formally issued and after receiving the show cause notice, the petitioner judge filed a reply to that show cause notice however, again the jurisdiction of the Council was not challenged.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked the AG as to what measures were taken after filing a complaint against the petitioner judge and under what law as well. “Suppose if the petitioner had declared the said properties in his wealth statements, than a reference could be made against him,” Justice Muneeb Akhtar asked AG.

“No reference than could be made against him,” the AG replied. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until next Monday

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) sent a contempt of court notice to the health secretary as the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) still isn’t functioning despite the court order.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani asked whether there was anyone in the federal government who could even explain this. If the government does things like this, the people will come out on to the streets and throw rocks, he said.

Separately, the federal government also challenged the February 11 restoration order. It filed an intra-court appeal.

In the appeal, it said the court has interfered in an administrative issue, which is not in their jurisdiction. It said the single-bench verdict was against the rules set by the Supreme Court.

Justice Kiyani heard on Wednesday the contempt of court petition against the sealing of the PMDC. The court asked on whose order the building had been sealed. The Islamabad administration replied that it was on the orders of the Health Ministry.

The court observed that the government must go to the Parliament if it doesn’t want an institution.

Justice Kiyani then criticised the federal government and Health Ministry and said they were playing with fire. A man felt like it so he locked up the building, said the court.

On February 11, Justice Kiyani in his verdict had declared the PMDC dissolution by a presidential ordinance as ‘null and void’. The court had also declared the establishment of the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) as illegal and unlawful.