ISLAMABAD: Justice Farrukh Irfan of Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday sought a stay on Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) proceedings against him from the apex court.
Proceedings had been initiated against Justice Irfan in the wake of him being named in the Panama Papers in 2016. Hamid Khan, the counsel for the judge, requested the court to halt proceedings till a judgement on his client’s petition seeking an open trial had been delivered. He expressed concern over the March 6 SJC proceedings against Justice Farrukh.
Observing that the petitioner’s anxiety needed to be addressed, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh, who was heading the larger bench, said the court did not want to make the case infructuous. “Don’t embarrass us and the court,” he said.
Justice Sheikh remarked that the bench shall not issue a stay order unless it deemed it necessary. After Attorney-General of Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali informed that the bench that he would appraise the SJC today, the court adjourned hearing until March 14 [tomorrow].
On February 28, the SJC had sought a written reply from the LHC judge on his name appearing in the Panama Papers. Consequently, a petition on barring Justice Irfan from judicial work was moved before the LHC.
In November, 2017, Justice Irfan filed a constitutional petition under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution against the SJC’s proceedings against him. The judge asked the SC to declare he had a fundamental right to insist that an inquiry into his conduct be held by a properly and constitutionally constituted council without the inclusion of a member barred from sitting on the council under Clause (3) of Article 209.