Clash of top court judges

Justice Akhtar tells AAG to take his time in Justice Isa case contrary to Justice Baqar’s remarks


Hasnaat Malik April 22, 2021
PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court on Thursday witnessed a tense day as top judges of the country exchanged harsh words against each other in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case.

Even a 10-judge larger bench of the apex court was compelled to take a short break to cool down the situation.

When Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Amir Rehman, on behalf of the federal government, was arguing his case, Justice Maqbool Baqar urged him not to repeat his arguments as they were running out of time.

However, Justice Munib Akhtar told the counsel that there was no race and he may take his time.

Upon this, Justice Baqar reminded Justice Akhtar that that was no way to interrupt a senior judge. "This is too much!" he remarked.

Justice Baqar reminded him that he is not behaving like this for the first time.

Read Isa to explain why he shouldn't be linked to UK assets

The situation became more intense when Justice Baqar and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah also got into an argument over the latter asking the former to allow the counsel to proceed.

Justice Baqar stated that if "someone wanted to drag the matter for [their own] motive, then it is a different reason". He added that a coercive attitude will not be allowed [in the courtroom].

"[The] whole world is watching this case!" he maintained.

Endorsing Justice Baqar's opinion, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah asked the counsel to keep in mind that one member of the bench, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, was retiring.

"Don't repeat your formulations on [the] same point," Justice Miankhel asked AAG Rehman.

Later, Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that the bench is taking a short break. However, Justice Baqar left the courtroom in protest before rising of the bench.

After 15 minutes, the bench reassembled to resume the hearing.

Earlier during the hearing, Justice Yahya Afridi asked the AAG to satisfy as to how the Supreme Court could presume jurisdiction of the Supreme Judicial Council by passing directives to the Federal Board of Revenue in this matter.

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah asked him whether there is a precedent wherein the court hearing a case of an individual passes order regarding another one. He said if the FBR proceeded in the case, no order was passed on June 19, 2020.

Justice Shah also inquired whether Sarina Isa was asked about referring her matter to the FBR for inquiry after recording her statement through video link on June 18, 2020.

AAG Rehman, supporting the June 19 order, said that the court gave a timeframe to the FBR for an expeditious disposal of the matter as it has link with one member of the judiciary.

Regarding Sarina’s contention for not giving an opportunity of hearing, Justice Isa said that no adverse order is passed against her, therefore there is no substance in her argument.

Rehman contended that the review is not permissible on the basis of procedural flaw.

He also read out certain portions of different judgements to substantiate that review is not maintainable.

Petitioner Justice Isa, however, stated that the government is delaying the matter.

He wondered that when the federal government did not file a review, then why the law officer was being heard at length.

He termed it “filibuster” – a term used in the USA to delay the legislation through lengthy speeches.

Justice Bandial asked the AAG to furnish the order of senior FBR official Zulfiqar Ahmed passed during the inquiry in Sarina’s case.

Upon this, Justice Miankhel asked the law officer to satisfy the bench whether the material which is under consideration on any other forum could be examined by the court.

The hearing was adjourned until today (Friday).

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