New charge against Justice Isa: “insinuations against state institutions”

In his constitutional petition, Justice Isa has questioned whether the contents of the “rejoinder (illegally filed by the AG) and the allegation of insinuations against the State Institutions – which was not in the references – could be included” into the show-cause notices.

Isa

News Desk |

Surprising as it may seem, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has charged the Supreme Court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa over “insinuations against state institutions”.

The details emerged from Justice Isa’s petition challenging the presidential reference before the Supreme Court. In his constitutional petition, The Express Tribune reported, Justice Isa has questioned whether the contents of the “rejoinder (illegally filed by the AG) and the allegation of insinuations against the State Institutions – which was not in the references – could be included” into the show-cause notices.

Justice Isa walked up to the institution branch of the apex court and filed a constitutional petition challenging the presidential reference against him.

The paper reported that the Attorney General for Pakistan has submitted a rejoinder stating that the judge had insinuated against the state institutions. After the federal government through the AGP filed the rejoinder, the SJC – a constitutional body task with scrutinizing the conduct of superior court judges – has added the new charge against the sitting judge in its second show-cause notice regarding writing letters to the president.

Did Justice Isa Write Three Letters to President?

In the news report, the paper said that a senior government official has revealed that Justice Isa had actually written three letters to the president. Interestingly, it said, the third letter which he wrote on June 12 and complained about the alleged media trial, has yet to be made public.

In the third letter, Justice Isa has complained that neither he or the prime minister replied nor he was sent a copy of the reference. However, he added, an unsigned document which purports to be the reference is available on the media.

Read more: Why did you write letters to the President? SJC issues show-cause notice to Justice Qazi Faez Isa

In addition, he said that there would have been no issue if due process was followed, public disclosure was not made and the matter was left to the council. “However, conducting my media trial is in clear breach of constitutional provisions,” the paper quoted him as saying.

“There are innumerable reports that the government is manipulating the media; this gains further traction when on a talk show, the lady in charge of the Ministry of Information said the government controls Pemra [ Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority],” the paper further quoted him as saying.

Moreover, it said: “the government team feigns naivety and puts forward false pretense – if he [Justice Isa] has not done anything wrong then why should he be worried”. Justice Isa said that it is correct that he has done nothing wrong and he was “not worried”.

However, he wondered that after the government team’s unabated vilification campaign, how he will be able to assuage public opinion and redeem his honor and reputation. He expressed that the government team has not respected the jurisdiction of the council and has attempted to undermine its credibility.

The top court’s judge has requested the Supreme Court to issue a restraining order over the proceedings of the SJC till the court decides his petition.

“It is a matter of concern when the government team disregards constitutional provisions, demonstrates malice aforethought, proceeds with ulterior motives, muzzles the media, and controls a one-sided narrative? Surely, we do not want this to be the future of Pakistan”, he stated in the letter.

Justice Isa Challenges Presidential Reference Before Supreme Court

On Aug 7, Justice Isa walked up to the institution branch of the apex court and filed a constitutional petition challenging the presidential reference against him.

In May, the federal government through President Arif Alvi had filed references against Justice Isa and Sindh High Court judge Justice KK Agha before the SJC over non-disclosure of their spouses’ foreign properties in their wealth statements.

Through the petition, the top court’s judge has requested the Supreme Court to issue a restraining order over the proceedings of the SJC till the court decides his petition.

The apex court judge has also challenged another reference filed by a Lahore-based lawyer Waheed Shahzad Butt, stating that Justice Isa violated the code of conduct for members of the judiciary by “writing letters to the president of Pakistan and sharing it with the media”.

The president said that he preferred the legal one by sending the presidential reference to the SJC under the specific laws and expressed the confidence that SJC would decide it in accordance with the law.

He has made both the superior bars— Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Bar Association — respondents in the petition. Total 13 respondents, including government functionaries, departments and bars, have been listed in the petition.

He has filed the constitution petition under Article 183 (3) of the Constitution and challenged it on the basis of mala fide intentions. Earlier, he had written two letters to the president asking him if the reports hold truth and, if yes, then he should be provided with a copy of the reference. He had also complained about selective leaks of the reference to the media.

Contents of Reference not Leaked from President House: President Alvi

On July 25, President Dr Arif Alvi had strongly refuted the claims that the contents of a presidential reference against the sitting judge of the Supreme Court was leaked from Aiwan-e-Sadr – the President House. The president had rebuffed the claim after conducting a thorough investigation into the issue.

In an interview on a private TV channel, President Alvi had said that he had received the reference against Justice Isa from the ministry of law and justice.

Read more: Supreme Court judge challenges presidential reference

During the interview, President Alvi elaborated that he had three options after receiving the reference: “First to sit over it like those who used such things for blackmailing (threats); second for holding a media trial; and the third one to proceed in accordance with relevant laws”.

The president said that he preferred the legal one by sending the presidential reference to the SJC under the specific laws and expressed the confidence that SJC would decide it in accordance with the law.

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