ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday set up a 10-member bank to resume the September 24 hearing on a set of petitions that challenge the presidential reference against Judge Qazi Faez Isa, an acting judge of the trial court.
Directed by Judge Umar Ata Bandial, the new bank has Judge Maqbool Baqar, Judge Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Judge Faisal Arab, Judge Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Judge Sajjad Ali Shah, Judge Syed Mansoor Ali Shah (in if available), Judge Munib Akhtar, Judge Yahya Afridi and Judge Qazi Mohammad Amin as their members.
At the last hearing on September 17, two members of the court of seven Supreme Court judges, namely Judge Sardar Tariq Masood and Judge Ijaz-ul-Ahsan had refrained from hearing the petitions.
Consequently, on September 18, Judge Bandial had ordered the constitution of the entire court composed of all available judges, with a directive to present the case file to the president of the court, Asif Saeed Khosa, to ensure an appropriate order .
"The order is being issued to promote transparency in the procedures and the trust of all people interested in these procedures," the order said.
The ten-member bank headed by Justice Bandial will resume the proceedings on September 24
The higher court is occupied with nine petitions filed by Judge Isa, the Bar Association of the Supreme Court, the Pakistan Bar Council, the Baluchistan Bar Council, the Sindh Bar Council, the Bar Association Baluchistan Superior Court, the Sindh Supreme Court Bar Association, the Quetta District Bar Association and the constitutional expert and lead lawyer Abid Hasan Minto along with the human rights champion IA Rehman.
The seven-member bank order had explained that during the 30-minute tea break the bank members met with each other and as a matter of grace to safeguard the pristine purity, dignity and holiness of the Supreme Court institution. and to avoid any motivated attribution, insinuation or discussion on the subject by any party, two members of the bank, for personal reasons and of their own will, decided to withdraw from these procedures.
While advancing his arguments, Judge Isa's lawyer, Muneer A. Malik, had requested the constitution of a full tribunal composed of "eligible judges" to hear the matter.
To explain the expression "eligible judges," the principal lawyer had argued that the judges on the bench who could possibly benefit from the dismissal of these petitions should withdraw from the process, in addition to the three principal judges who were members of the Supreme Court. Judicial Council
Mr. Malik had argued that the possibility of being carried away by any consideration of a personal advantage was grounds for challenge under Article 4 of the Code of Conduct of the Judges of the Supreme Court and the Superior Courts.
He said that the legal fraternity and the public perceived that a personal advantage would be obtained for the "ineligible judges" in 2023 if the petitioner did not assume the position of president of the Supreme Court.
But the seven-judge court order had said that the presentations made by Mr. Malik did not reveal any interest, when the participation of any existing tangible, palpable, personal or pecuniary interest of a judge always justified his recusal. Rather it was admitted that any tangible interest can accrue four years later.
"It implies a contingent, prospective and speculative interest," the order had declared, adding that the lawyer had not cited any precedents to sustain a future contingency as a disqualifying factor for a judge.
Posted on Dawn, September 21, 2019