ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court cautioned the federal government on Thursday against the consequences if the Centre failed to prove its case against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
A 10-member bench of the apex court, led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, was hearing Justice Isa’s petition against the reference and the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council against him.
The bench has raised serious questions over working of Assets Recovery Units (ARU) and the federal government has yet to satisfy the court on the matter.
The Centre should bear in mind the consequences in case it is unable to prove its case against Justice Isa, remarked Justice Maqbool Baqar.
Who floated the idea that the reference should be filed against the apex court’s judge, asked Justice Bandial of the federal government’s lawyer, Dr Farogh Naseem.
Meanwhile, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, observed that the federal government had alleged three offences in its reference – violation of laws pertaining to taxation, money laundering and the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. However, said Justice Akhtar, there was no offence of money laundering in this case in view of the relevant laws as the properties under scrutiny were acquired in 2013.
Justice Akhtar noted that both the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act Amendments and the law pertaining to money laundering came after 2015. Instead of referring the matter to tax authorities, the ARU made a serious error in this case, he remarked.
Justice Akhtar then asked Dr Naseem to read out the recent judgement on privacy, which was passed by the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court.
The federal counsel was also questioned by Justice Bandial on the accusations laid against Justice Isa.
If the tax authority finds a Rs10,000 default against the judge, would the accused judge be liable for action against Article 209, asked Justice Bandial.
Article 209 of the Constitution of Pakistan pertains to action against a judge when he has been guilty of misconduct. In the previous hearing, Justice Bandial had observed that action is initiated under Article 209 when the judiciary as an institution is injured and there is a serious element of dishonesty or corruption in his work which affects public trust in the judiciary.