Reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa

Question of Misconduct Reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa

By Zaib Azkaar Hussain


The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on June 14 held protest demonstration to express their disapproval against the misconduct reference filed against Supreme Court (SC) Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

After the filing of the reference against the judge, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) issued a notice to the federal government for hearing the references against Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Sindh High Court (SHC) Justice Karim Khan Agha on June 14.

The two judges have been accused of possessing undeclared foreign properties and the government has sought action against them under Article 209.

Interestingly some of the lawyers raised question of impeachment of president of the country for taking the reference up.

In a press conference outside the apex court building in the federal capital, PBC Vice Chairman Amjad Ali Shah demanded resignations of the law minister and the attorney general of Pakistan for filing a reference against a top judge on ‘mala fide’ intent.

“The reference has no merit and is based on ill-intention,” he made it clear.

A senior lawyer Shakeel Ahmed Satti says that if Article 209 was not acceptable to the supporters then they should underline another law that could make the defendant accountable. He said there were five judges who were due to adjudge the reference. Including chief justice of the apex court, two senior judges of the same court and two chiefs justice of a high court were at the supreme judicial council and their integrity and honesty was beyond challenge.

Another writer Dr Shahid Zamir agreed to the plea of Advocate Satti, adding that everyone was accountable especially when someone was holding an important seat and was responsible to dispense justice whether he was a bureaucrat, a politician, a government officer or judicial officer.

On the other, those protesting say that the purpose of the protest was to guard the essence of the Constitution and preserve the supremacy of law.

Besides PBC, the reference had drawn the ire of many other lawyer bodies, with Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) warning of protests within courtrooms on June 14, as well as burning copies of the reference.

In a presser on June 4, SCBA President Amanullah Kanrani said the judge was being punished for the “sins he never committed”.

The SCBA president added: “When you disqualify politicians on Article-62 and 63, judges should not have the right to make decisions about themselves. A third party should take decisions against the judges. The parliament should decide about the judges.”

The SCBA and the government came face-to-face after President Arif Alvi filed a complaint at the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against alleged misconduct of Justice Isa and another apex court judge, who allegedly hold foreign properties either in their names or through their spouses.

Following the controversy, the SCBA demanded President Arif Alvi’s impeachment for filing the reference while superior bars expressed solidarity with the top court judge.

The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), the apex body of the legal fraternity, suspended the law practicing licence of Federal Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Nasim and demanded of him to resign from the Ministry for his instrumental role in filing of a reference against the judges of the superior judiciary.

The Council also approved the decision taken by the joint meeting of representatives of bar councils held on 8th and 9th June, 2019 in respect of observing protest day on 14th June by the legal fraternity throughout the country. It resolved that the advocates would wear black arm bands and will not appear in courts but maintained that they would remain peaceful and not resort to any violence as the lawyers firmly believed in the rule of Law.

The Council demanded of him to resign from the Ministry for his instrumental role in filing of a reference against the judges of the superior judiciary.

It observed that Muhammad Farogh Naseem having joined Federal Cabinet as Minister for Law & Justice, was required to get his licence suspended under Rule 108-O of the Pakistan Legal Practitioners & Bar Councils Rules, 1976, but has failed to do so and thus by operation of law his licence to practice stands suspended and further in view of suspension of licence to practice he also ceases to be a member of the Pakistan Bar Council.

The opponents of the reference claim that the current campaign against Justice Isa was launched after he authored a strongly worded judgement on Feb 6 in a case relating to the Nov 2017 Faizabad sit-in by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakis­tan, directing the defence ministry and chiefs of the army, navy and air force to penalise the personnel under their command found to have violated their oath.

Regarding the allegation about violating Section 116 (1)(b) of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, Justice Isa in his letter to the president of Pakistan said he had not received any notice from the tax authority.

He observed “Secondly, my children are not minors nor have they been so for quite a while. Thirdly, neither my spouse nor my children are my dependents. Fourthly, Section 116 (1) (b) of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 is not penal provision,”

The judge declared he was maliciously maligned by half-truth by the members of the government, which was completely distressing for his family and himself.

However some lawyers claim that the justice who was fair and clean should not be defended out of court as it could create confusion about his honest role.



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