SC office turns down leave request of Justice Isa’s counsel – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court office has turned down a request for leave by senior counsel Muneer A. Malik representing sitting Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

The counsel, who suffered a cardiac problem on Sept 17 night soon after attending hearing of the challenges to the presidential reference against Justice Isa, had furnished the application before the Supreme Court office seeking 12-day general adjournment from Sept 23 to Oct 4.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had constituted a 10-judge bench to resume from Sept 24 the hearing of a set of petitions challenging the presidential reference against their own brother judge, Justice Isa.

Headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, the new bench will resume the proceedings on Tuesday (Sept 24). In addition to Justice Bandial the bench consists of Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah (in case the judge is available), Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin.

Muneer A. Malik represents Supreme Court judge who is facing presidential reference

The apex court is seized with nine petitions moved by Justice Isa, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Abid Hasan Minto, High Court Bar Association Quetta president Abdul Basit, Quetta Bar Association president Muhammad Asif Reki, the Sindh High Court Bar Association, Balochistan Bar Council and Sindh Bar Council.

It is, however, not clear who will replace the senior counsel for the scheduled hearing on Sept 24 since the doctors treating Advocate Malik have advised him complete bed rest at least for a week.

At the last hearing on Sept 17, two members of the seven-judge Supreme Court bench namely Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijaz-u-Ahsan had declined to sit in the bench.

Consequently on Sept 18, Justice Bandial in a seven-page order had at issued a directive for constitution of the full court consisting of all the available judges with an order to furnish the entire case file before CJP Khosa to ensure an appropriate order in this regard.

The directive is being issued, the order had stated, to promote transparency in the proceedings and confidence of all persons interested in these proceedings.

The order had also explained that during the 30-minute tea break, the members of the bench conferred with each other and as a matter of grace for safeguarding the pristine purity, dignity and sanctity of the institution of the Supreme Court and for avoiding any motivated attribution, insinuation or discussion on the present subject by any quarters, two members of the bench for their personal reasons and for their own volition, decided to recuse themselves from these proceedings.

While advancing his arguments, Justice Isa’s councel Mr Malik who appeared on behalf of Justice Isa had sought the constitution of the full court comprising eligible judges for hearing the matter.

To explain the expression ‘eligible judges,’ the counsel had argued that the judges on the bench who may possibly benefit from the dismissal of this petition should recuse themselves from the proceedings in addition to the three senior judges who were members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2019

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