Justice Isa slams introduction of laws through ordinances

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court judge Qazi Faez Isa on Tuesday criticised the introduction of laws through ordinances, saying it was tantamount to usurping the parliament’s job.

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During the hearing of a case regarding the cutting of forests in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Justice Isa remarked, “shut down the parliament if laws are to be introduced through ordinances.”

He was part of a three-member bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam.

During the proceedings, the court rejected applications filed by petitioners who claim to be owners of pieces of forest land.

The bench observed that the petitioners had not asked to be given their share at any level during the hearing of the case. Justice Isa told the petitioners that they did not have a right of claim to the land and that the government should have filed a review petition in the case.

He also asked the government representative why the order in the case issued in 2013 was not implemented.

“The protection of forests is important for the future of upcoming generations,” the judge remarked, adding that all laws relating to forests in the country were instead “designed to protect corruption”.

He also asked why an important law concerning forests was instituted through an ordinance.

“Those cutting forests are murdering generations,” he concluded.

Justice Isa’s petition hearing adjourned until Oct 8:

A nine-member Supreme Court bench on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s petition, against a presidential reference, until October 8 and directed Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman to submit a response on the judge’s appeal.

The bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, pointed out that Justice Mansoor Ali Shah — who is a member of the bench — could not attend the proceedings as he was on leave. He also noted that Justice Isa’s lawyer Muneer A. Malik was ill and had submitted a request in the court to adjourn the hearing earlier. The request was declined.

During the hearing today, the bench said that the court will issue notices to all parties including the attorney general’s office. Rehman assured the bench that a written response will be submitted in the next hearing.

“It will be better if you (Rehman) submit your response a week before the next hearing,” said Justice Faisal Arab, who was part of the bench.

the court “will not leave [the case] in pending for a long period of time,” remarked Justice Bandial.

“This is a matter of our fellow judge,” Justice Bandial said. “We will do whatever is in accordance with the law and Constitution.”

Justice Munib Akhtar, another member of the bench, said that all parties should “convince the court over the exemption granted to the prime minister and president under Article 248”.

The top court had resumed hearing on a set of challenges to the presidential reference against Justice Isa after it constituted a 10-judge bench last week.

Headed by Justice Bandial, the bench comprises of Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, in case the judge is available, Justice Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin.

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

In May, Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) issued notices to Justice Isa and Justice Karim Khan Agha of the Sindh High Court (SHC) over references filed against them.

President Arif Alvi had filed a reference against Justice Isa for not disclosing in his income-tax returns and wealth statements three properties in the UK. Justice Isa maintained, however, that the properties belonged to his children.

The SJC — the only constitutional forum that can examine the conduct of superior court judges and recommend their removal — held a hearing of the two references on June 14.

According to media reports, the references accuse the two judges of concealing their assets and recommend action against them under Article 209 of the Constitution.

Earlier that month, against the backdrop of reports regarding institution of references against superior court judges, Justice Isa had approached President Dr Arif Alvi, complaining that selective leaks to the media amount to his character assassination, thus jeopardising his right to due process and fair trial.

An informed source had told media that in his letter to the president, the SC judge had also said he would be obliged if the former could let him know if it was correct that a reference had been filed against him.

On August 19, The SJC dismissed the reference against Justice Isa for writing letters to President.

The “private letters” written to the president by Justice Isa “ha[d] not been found by us to be serious or grave enough to constitute misconduct sufficient for his removal from the exalted office of a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” read the order from SJC.

The reference was filed by a Lahore-based lawyer, stating that Justice Isa had violated the code of conduct by “writing letters to the president of Pakistan and sharing it with the media”.

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