ISLAMABAD: Judge Umar Ata Bandial has said that the sinister inference that can be drawn from the presidential reference against a judge in the exercise of the Supreme Court will not only harm this judge but also the entire institution of the judiciary.
Judge Bandial approved these comments as he addressed an SC bank throughout the court that heard a set of petitions challenging the presidential reference against judge Qazi Faez Isa of SC on Tuesday.
"We know that he (Judge Isa) is not a person who steals money from people, but the other party (the government) accused him of dishonestly acquiring three properties during his tenure as president of the High Court of Balochistan (BHC), "Judge Bandial observed.
Could the higher court ignore such accusations and push them under the carpet, he said while pointing to Judge Isa Munir A. Malik's lawyer, and asked him to state whether the accusations against the judge were true or false?
When qualifying the allegations in dispute, the lawyer said that the properties mentioned in the reference were not related to Judge Isa, since they were the property of his children who were not his dependents.
He says that the higher court cannot ignore the charges against the judge in office
He asked the court to send a reply to the federal government, asking him to record the charges against the judge. He said he would arrive at an appropriate response after reading that document and seeking instructions from his client.
"I'm going to burn the midnight oil," he said, adding: "I'm not running away." What were the compelling reasons to show urgency in the case that was not ordinary, he asked. The entire judiciary was on trial and the eyes of the entire nation were in this case, he said.
Mr. Malik opined that some judgments of Justice Isa had become the basis of a deliberate campaign designed to punish him.
The reference was intended to harass a judge of the Supreme Court, emphasized and questioned the lawyer, could article 209 of the constitution, which deals with the Supreme Judicial Council (CSJ), be apparently used to punish the judge of the upper cut.
Referring to the answer presented on behalf of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) by the attorney general (AG), Mr. Malik asked: did the AG represent the SJC?
Judge Bandial acknowledged that the matter in question had the potential to erode people's trust in this institution. But, he added, the bank had a deadline and could not prolong the case because one of its members would not be available after two weeks.
He made it clear that neither the court would exonerate the judge, nor condemn constitutional officials, such as the president or prime minister, especially when the facts of the case in question were totally different from the 2010 case of former Pakistani justice president, Iftikhar Muhammad . Chaudhry
"The CSJ is the highest constitutional body in the country and we must maintain the decorum and respect all constitutional officials, since they are impartial and have no reason to transfer the reference," he said.
"This is not the case where a judge has been suspended, detained or placed under house arrest," Judge Bandial explained. However, he admitted that the charge of surveillance of Judge Isa and his family was a new point.
He said the entire court should proceed faster since the list of the cusp court was suffering due to the constitution of the bank of 10 judges for this case.
Malik argued that the federal government was hiding the fact that the driver of the second reference against Judge Isa, which was eventually rejected by the SJC, was actually a power and, therefore, the Supreme Court should void the reference by be bad faith for the sake of the independence of the judiciary. "That's why I ask the court to listen to me after the federal government's appeal is filed," said the lawyer.
Attorney General Anwar Mansoor assured the court that the government's response was ready and that he would appear in court before Wednesday. He explained that the government's response covered almost all the outstanding characteristics raised by other petitioners.
At the beginning of Tuesday's proceedings, Judge Bandial noted that the court intended to address first the capacity to maintain the petition, especially in view of the expulsion clause of article 211 of the Constitution. In addition, he observed certain judgments in this regard, observed, and explained that the idea was to proceed quickly.
Judge Bandial admitted that the response from the government was necessary.
Then, the court postponed new proceedings in the case for Monday, although initially it wanted to postpone the case for Thursday.
At one point, Judge Bandial, while pointing to the GA, noted that all this happened due to the late submission of the government's response and that this should not be repeated again.
Posted on Dawn, October 9, 2019