ISLAMABAD: Two members of the Supreme Court of seven judges refused on Tuesday to hear a series of challenges to the presidential reference against Judge Qazi Faez Isa when the petitioner emphasized that both members would be direct beneficiaries if the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC ) dismiss him and that justice must not only be done but must also be seen as done.
"The principle of disqualification derives from the maxim that not only justice should be done, but also that it should be done," argued lead attorney Muneer A. Malik, explaining that his client had no doubt that he was not I would do it justice. but the challenge of judges was of interest to this institution since Ceaser's wife should always be above suspicion.
Directed by Judge Umar Ata Bandial, the bank in a room full of capacity also included Judge Maqbool Baqar, Judge Manzoor Ahmed Malik, Judge Sardar Tariq Masood, Judge Faisal Arab, Judge Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Judge Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.
Two judges refrain from hearing statements against the presidential reference after the arguments presented by the lawyer
The bank is busy with a series of petitions filed by Judge Qazi Faez Isa, the Bar Association of the Supreme Court (SCBA), the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), a joint petition by the eminent jurist Abid Hassan Minto and the rights activist IA Rehman, the Bar Association of the High Court of Sindh, the president of the Bar Association of Quetta (QBA) Mohammad Asif Reki, the president of the Bar Association of the High Court of Balochistan Abdul Basit and the Council of the Bar Association of Sindh ( SBC)
The petitioner judge had opposed the presence of Judge Sardar Tariq Masood and Judge Ijaz-ul-Ahsan since if he (Judge Isa) were accused by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), Judge Masood would be elevated to the office of president of justice for six months until March 10, 2024, otherwise he would reach retirement as a judge. Similarly, in this scenario, Judge Ahsan would become the president of the court in March 2024 instead of October 25, 2024.
After hearing the arguments, the members of the SC bank withdrew to consider them during a 30-minute tea break. When they met again after 60 minutes, a visibly disturbed Bandial judge announced that some bank members would not like to continue.
He said the matter would be referred to the President of the Supreme Court Asif Saeed Khosa for the establishment of a different bank for an early hearing, possibly for the next week.
In explaining his position, Judge Masood noted that he had already decided not to sit on the bench before the lawyer pointed out, but reminded them that even if the SC rejected the petitions against submitting the references, the SJC would do so. Resume the matter for a final decision.
While reading a note, Judge Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said that the oath of office forced him in all circumstances to do the right thing to all kinds of people according to the law without fear or favor, affection or ill will and that I would not do it. allow personal interest to influence their official conduct or official decisions. "I have no doubt in my mind that I can fulfill the oath of my office and the high ideals that this office represents," Judge Ahsan observed. He added that, in view of the reservations unfortunately expressed in the name of the petitioner, that he was a brother judge, that they were not justified or had no basis, in fact, he also did not consider it appropriate to listen to these requests, so that there is not the most remote possibility of entertain even a theoretical element of partiality or partiality of his part in the background of the petitioner's mind.
"Therefore, taking into account the best traditions and practices of this court for adherence to the rule of law and the highest standards of transparency, impartiality and ownership and in line with my own moral values, I do not consider it in the suitability of things to sit on this bench, "said Judge Ahsan.
Judge Bandial regretted that the principle of disqualification of a judge was a matter of law and, therefore, should be decided, but stressed that his only concern was that "no litigant should have the right to begin to elect." This should never happen and no one should have the right to object to A or B hear or not hear your case. But with regard to the judges that were really like jewels, these hearings cannot continue, "Justice Bandial observed and, pointing to the lawyer, said:" I invite you to stop here. "
However, Malik said his client had the deepest confidence in the integrity of the judges they wanted to challenge. He said he knew Judge Ahsan before becoming a judge and found him as a jewel of a person.
At first, the lawyer began his arguments by citing a recent speech by the President of the Supreme Court Asif Saeed Khosa in which the latter had expressed concern about the growing perception of the process of "disproportionate accountability" and, therefore, needed measures urgent corrections to avoid losing credibility. as well as the disturbing perception of "murmur of the printed and electronic media" and the suppression of dissent. "
"That's what this case is about," said the lawyer, adding that the bank and the bar were at the crossroads and that the eyes and ears of the entire nation were on this bank. He said he received instructions from his client that his supreme duty in arguing the case should be to ensure that the image of the judiciary is not tarnished.
The lawyer referred to the request on behalf of Justice Isa for the constitution of a full court that includes all eligible judges. “And what he meant by eligible judges,” he explained, “was that the three judges who were members of the SJC should not sit on the full court, while the two judges who will be the biggest beneficiary in case of dismissal of Justice Isa either it should be part of the bank. "
To substantiate, he referred to the case of Malik Asad Ali of 1988 in which the then president of the acting Supreme Court, Ajmal Mian, refused to be part of a full court since he had issued an administrative order for the constitution of a bank larger, in addition to being the final beneficiary in the case then the president of the court Sajjad Ali Shah was removed.
To establish the concept of judicial bias, the petitioner also cited the case of Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet in 1998, when the House of Lords ruled against him for committing crimes against humanity. But the ruling was overturned when Pinochet tried to set aside the verdict alleging that Lord Hoffmann, one of the five-member bank members, was an unpaid director and president of Amnesty International Charity Limited and that his wife was also employed. by Amnesty International.
The lawyer argued that the judiciary operates on the basis of the trust of people who should never be destroyed.
Posted on Dawn, September 18, 2019