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March 3, 2021

SC allows Justice Isa to argue in his review petition

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March 3, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Justice Qazi Faez Isa to argue in his review petition filed against its order of June 19, 2020 to the extent of directions given to the Federal Board of Revenue after the full court quashed the Presidential Reference filed against the judge. A 10-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, allowed Justice Isa after his counsel Munir A Malik could not turn up due to health issues. Justice Umar Ata Bandial, at the start of the proceedings, said that Munir A Malik had filed an application stating his inability to argue the case due to his illness. "In these circumstances, we allow Justice Qazi Faez Isa to argue before the court,” Justice Bandial said.

Commencing his arguments, Justice Qazi Faez Faez Isa stressed the court for live coverage of the instant case adding that the court can utilize the existing technology for live coverage of his review petition.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial, however, observed that there are logistical as well as practical concerns about the live broadcast of the instant proceedings.

"It’s not a judicial but administrative and police matter," Justice Bandial remarked adding that the matter may be put before the full court for consideration.

Justice Bandial requested Justice Isa to show restraint while arguing his case adding that a lawyer is a buffer between the petitioner and court.

“You may find the arguments of other party offensive, therefore, I request you to show restraint,” Justice Umer Ata Bandial told Justice Isa.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa replied that if he deviates from his arguments, the court can stop him, adding that he will not take too much time in the review petition but he wants to explain a little bit the background of the case as there is a new judge on the bench.

“We will try our best that there will be no aspect of any ridicule witnessed during the course of the instant proceedings,” Justice Bandial said.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa, however, said that he and his family had already been subjected to humiliation adding that an organized ridiculous campaign had been launched against them and the whole world had witnessed it.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial, however, observed that they all belong to an institution, therefore, patience is the need of the hour for the integrity of the institution. “We also believe that we belong to an institution and it is our obligation to maintain its integrity and its reputation," Justice Umar Ata Bandial replied.

Justice Qazi Faiz Isa said that he cannot hold a press conference or issue a statement like an ordinary citizen, but people were demanding from him that why he was not giving an answer, a suspicious person named Dogar appeared. "Please focus on relevant points,” Justice Bandial told Justice Isa.

“But every point is important and if your lordship finds me with irrelevant points, admonish me," Justice Isa said. "I will tell you,” Justice Bandial replied.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa became emotional on one occasion, saying he could not understand the point because he was not very clever. He said that propaganda against the Supreme Court judge and his family was done through the official channel. "My son and daughter had been involved in the matter but I am not waging a war for myself but also my institution."

Referring to the freedom of press, Justice Isa said that today journalists are abducted from Islamabad and on the abduction of journalists the prime minister says he does not know anything. The judge said that journalists were subjected to torture but no inquiry was made in this regard adding that if names of responsible were revealed in open court, then a reference will come against him. He said we are living in a gutter, not Pakistan.

Let them come before us whosoever been abducted and they should file a separate petition, Justice Bandial said.

"Don’t be emotional and you should focus on your case," Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik told Justice Isa. "I apologize," Justice Isa replied.

Meanwhile, he cited examples of live coverage of court proceedings in different countries, including Cape Town, South Africa, saying that access to information is the basic and fundamental right of citizens adding that it is the right of people to know about the proceedings of parliament

Justice Isa said that parliamentary proceedings are broadcast live, it is not allowed in the Constitution, live court proceedings will provide an opportunity for young lawyers to learn. He said the media is controlled here, ratings are obtained by showing the battle of both the parties in the media. Each party comes in the media and says that the decision has been made in its favour, the truth is not conveyed to the public.

Justice Isa said that the loudspeaker technology is used for Azaan, when there is a technology, why it is not being used.

Justice Umer Ata Bandial, however, observed that if the court allowed live broadcast of his case, then tomorrow everyone will have to give permission. “This matter is not judicial but administrative and policy related," Justice Bandial observed

Meanwhile, Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked additional Attorney General as to whether he would argue to which he replied that he was taking notes. The court asked him to inform it today as to who will argue on behalf of the government and adjourned the hearing for today (Wednesday)