Justice Isa’s counsel seeks two-week adjournment

Muneer A Malik says he has undergone medical treatment


Hasnaat Malik September 20, 2019
Justice Qazi Faez Isa. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court judge Qazi Faez Isa’s attorney, Muneer A Malik, has sought two weeks general adjournment in hearing of the petition against the presidential reference that alleged that Justice Isa had committed misconduct by not declaring his family members’ assets.

Malik, who just underwent angiography two days ago, has moved an application before the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa requesting a two-week general adjournment.

The counsel was hospitalised for a few days in Shifa International Hospital. In the wake of his application, the Supreme Court is not likely to take up Justice Isa case in the month of September.

It is also learned that two SC judges – Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah – are going to South Africa to attend the International Organization for Judicial Training Conference next week.

Justice Ahsan has already recused himself to hear the case but Justice Shah is part of the bench.

Currently, nine constitution petitions have been filed in the apex court against the reference.

These petitions are filed by Justice Isa, the Supreme Court Bar Association, the Pakistan Bar Council, Abid Hasan Minto, the High Court Bar Association Quetta President Abdul Basit, Quetta Bar Association President Asif Reki, the Sindh High Court Bar Association, Balochistan Bar Council and Sindh Bar Council.

Currently, 16 judges are working in the apex court and 10 of them are ‘eligible’ to hear Justice Isa’s petition. Three top most judges are members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) hearing the presidential references against Justice Isa. Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan have recused themselves while the sixth judge is Justice Isa himself.

New SC judge

According to sources, the CJP has nominated the Lahore High Court judge Amin-Ud-Din Khan as an SC judge.  The chief justice has summoned a meeting of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) today (September 20) to consider Justice Khan’s elevation in the apex court.

Justice Amin-Ud-Din Khan is 6th in the seniority list. He will work as the SC judge until November 30, 2025. Justice Khan’s elevation has been proposed due to his expertise in civil laws.  The Lahore High Court Bar Association has expressed reservations over the elevation of a junior judge to the apex court.

However, a section of lawyers believes that criteria of judges’ elevation should include competence and reputation, and seniority should not be the primary factor.

They say elevation of Justice Muneeb Akhtar is a good decision as he is a ‘superb jurist and a first-rate choice’.  The SC in its judgment in Faqir Khokhar case has already maintained that appointment of an SC judge is a fresh appointment and a junior judge can also be elevated.

After the retirement of CJP Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed this year, the SC has already lost its experts on civil laws. It will be interesting as to whether Justice Khan will be part of the full court hearing Justice Isa case after his elevation next month.

It is to be seen whether the fate of Justice Isa case is decided before the retirement of CJP Khosa or not. The incumbent CJP is retiring in December this year. Legal experts are also wondering why most of the judges who faced charges of misconduct before the SJC in recent past, alleged the CJP Khosa of bias.

One LHC judge objected to Khosa’s presence in a bench hearing a complaint against him and the CJP recused himself. Three other judges also pointed the finger at him and said he had a role in their tendering resignation from their position and in one case, removal.

Some senior lawyers, however, believe that the incumbent CJP has very high standards of judicial excellence which many find it difficult to come up to.

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