Crucial week as SC to conclude hearing in Justice Isa case

So far, 10-judge full court conducted 36 hearings

Hasnaat Malik June 15, 2020
Justice Qazi Faez Isa. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: This week is slated to be crucial, as the apex court is likely to conclude the hearing in Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s case against the presidential reference filed against him for non-disclosure of family members’ properties in his wealth statement.

So far, a 10-judge full court, led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, has already conducted 36 hearings in the case.

The Supreme Court judgment in the Justice Isa case would have far-reaching implications in the relationship between the judiciary and the executive/PTI government and the security establishment.

Presently, the federal government counsel, Dr Farogh Naseem, is arguing the case. He sought two-day hearing to present his defence on the petitioner judge’s allegations of malice, surveillance, collection of material against him unlawfully, etc.

Dr Khalid Ranjha, Irfan Qadir, Sohail Mahmood and Chaudhry Amir Rehman will give their arguments on behalf of different respondents. However, Naeem is mainly arguing the government's case.

Justice Isa’s counsel Muneer A Malik will give rebuttal on the government counsels’ arguments. Senior lawyers expect that both sides will complete their submissions this week.

Treat judges according to law: top court asks govt

It is learnt that unlike the announcement, all judges would likely hear the case at the Islamabad Registry. Earlier, it was announced that a few judges would hear the case from other SC registries through video link.

A debate has also initiated whether the full court would announce a short order of the bench or reserve the judgment after conclusion of the hearing.

On the other hand, the federal government has started considering the possible judgment and its implications in the Justice Isa case.

The government top functionaries want the SC to not give any adverse opinion on any member or branch of the executive. Justice Maqbool Baqar has, in one of the hearings, already asked Naseem to keep in mind that a democratically elected government has  previously been sent packing on charges of judges surveillance.

A senior government official believes that if the reference is maintained and the matter is referred to the Supreme Judicial Council to proceed against Justice Isa and eventually the SC judge is removed, the bar associations might start a lawyers’ movement, which might create an anti-establishment sentiment in the country.

Likewise, if the opposition parties join the lawyers’ movement, there will be more political and economic instability in the country, and the judiciary may pass bold judgements against the government.

The official further says that if the reference is quashed, the federal government will restrain from filing a reference against any judge. Likewise, there will be strong criticism on the lack of accountability within judiciary. Similarly, Justice Isa as the chief justice of Pakistan may be tough for those who initiated misconduct proceedings against him.

However, representatives of bars believe that the judiciary would emerge as a powerful institution after former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s restoration. They also say that public trust in courts will also increase.


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