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Tuesday November 30, 2021

In disciplinary proceedings, judge, not wife, is asked about source of income: Farogh Naseem

June 12, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Barrister Farogh Naseem on Thursday said that the word misconduct was not intentionally defined in Article 209 of the Constitution or any relevant documents.

During the hearing of Justice Faez Isa case, he referred to a judgment delivered by Justice A R Cornelius PLD 1962 wherein it was held that if there was a violation of law by a judge, it would be misconduct.

At this, Justice Maqbool Baqir observed in on lighter note that he should not be a bad boy. He cited an observation of the Indian Supreme Court that ‘a judge is a public servant and his office is a public trust’. “But I must say that in Pakistan, the office of the judge is not only public, but also a sacred trust,” Farogh Naseem contended.

He said the oath of a judge was a complete subjugation to the Constitution and his behavior should be proper and he should not engage in any public controversy. Farogh Naseem read out Articles 3 and 5 of the Constitution adding that the apex court or the Supreme Judicial Council had to determine whether a misconduct had been made or not.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar, however, observed that the Constitution was unique and instead of relying on other laws pertaining to misconduct, ‘we should interpret the constitutional meaning of misconduct’.

Farogh Naseem submitted that the Constitution did not make distinction between dependency and independence of a spouse, adding that there was a close proximity between husband and wife hence a judge was required to disclose the properties of his wife.

To substantiate his argument, he submitted that when a judge dies, his widow receives pension even if she is financially independent. “But you will have to establish before us that the petitioner’s wife is not independent,” Justice Maqbool Baqir asked Naseem.

Farogh, however, contended that ‘we are in disciplinary proceedings and such proceedings before the Supreme Judicial Council, the wife is not asked but the petitioner judge. He said that in Pakistan all judges are politically exposed persons, adding that military and judicial officials both fall in that category.

“Until now the petitioner judge has not yet disclosed the properties of his spouse,” Naseem contended. He recalled that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had also stressed in Panama case that he should not be asked for the properties of his children and said since his children were independent, therefore, they should be asked for.

“But the question is that whether you have asked the wife about her source of income?” Justice Sajjad Ali Shah asked the federation counsel to which Naseem repeated that when there were disciplinary proceedings, he will not ask the wife but the petitioner judge.

He further submitted that both the judges and their wives could not avail themselves of the tax amnesty scheme 2018. He also referred to the State Bank of Pakistan Regulations about customs as well SEP Regulations regarding the public office-holders, politically exposed persons as well as anti-money laundering regulations of SEP besides citing Article 63(1) (o) (p) etc.