Govt’s optimism about its reference against Justice Isa

Justice Qazi Faez Esa

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has been told that nothing adverse has happened to the government’s reference filed before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against the Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

An informed source confided to The News that the premier is told that as against the media speculation that the reference is being quashed, the SJC has already acted in Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s case under rule 8(3) of the Supreme Judicial Council Procedure of Inquiry, 2005.

According to the rule 8(3) of the SJC Procedures of Inquiry, “If the Council is of the opinion that before forming an opinion, it should also hear the judge under enquiry, it shall require the said judge to present himself before the Council. The Council shall provide him the information and material received against him.”

Although media reports suggest that Attorney General Anwar Mansoor was grilled by the SJC and that when he left the Council meeting he was looking upset and worried, the government sources deny this and appear confident and believe that proceeding under rule 8(3) of the SJC Procedures of Inquiry is the first step of the Council.

As against the government’s optimism that the second step will be the issuance of show cause notice, the SJC procedures don’t show any link between rule 8(3) with rule 9 of the SJC Procedures. Rule 9 deals with the show cause notice.

Invoking rule 8(3) clearly reflects that the SJC has not yet made up its mind whether to quash the reference or proceed against the respected SC judge. Rule 9 reads as: “(1) If the Council decides to proceed against a judge, a show cause notice shall be issued to him along with supporting material calling upon him to explain his conduct within 14 days. (2) On receipt of reply from the judge, Council shall convene its meeting to proceed further with the matter.”

A five-member SJC bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh and Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth heard the references against Justice Qazi Isa and SHC Judge KK Agha amid protests by the legal fraternity which termed the reference against Justice Isa as “mala fide”. In its first meeting, the Council heard arguments from Attorney General Anwar Mansoor.

Published by The News