ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has questioned whether the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) had enough material in the reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa to issue a show-cause notice.
Justice Isa’s lawyer pleaded that spying on judges “is against the independence of judiciary as it affects its credibility”.
A 10-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, heard the case regarding proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Justice Isa.
The reference filed against Justice Isa alleged that he acquired three properties in London on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015, but did not disclose them in wealth returns.
During the proceedings, Justice Isa’s counsel Munir A Malilk said in the case of a complaint against a judge, the president had to use his mind to decide whether to send the matter to the SJC or not. Similarly, if the matter was referred, the council had to decide whether to initiate proceedings or not, he added.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah raised the question as to whether the council could inquire into the matter when the president had formed his opinion and forwarded the matter to it.
The lawyer replied that in such a case the council had to start an inquiry into the matter.
Justice Bandial said was there so much material before the SJC that it issued a show-cause notice to Justice Isa. However, in the case of uncircumcised situation, legislation on spying was required, he added.
Malik replied that the court should review the material collected on the basis of espionage and issue an order of inquiry, adding that judges had strong nerves.
Justice Mansoor asked whether there was any law regarding tapping of phone calls.
Justice Faisal Arab asked whether spying was done under the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law.
Malik said NAB had to take permission from the high court concerned for spying.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said the ‘spy’ word was very broad.
The court adjourned the hearing of the case till Wednesday.