The judicial reference filed against Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa was filed in complete disregard of the law, the Supreme Court of Pakistan noted in its detailed judgement on the matter on Friday.
However, though the apex court found glaring lapses and procedural irregularities in the filing of the reference, it ruled that there was no ill intent behind the filing of the reference on the part of the president and prime minister.
In summary, the Supreme Court found eleven grounds on which it found the reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa to be legally ‘defective’.
On the basis of these findings, the Supreme Court delivered a blistering rebuke of the way the allegations against Justice Qazi Faez Isa had been handled.
“These illegal acts […] depict their [the government’s] utter disregard of the law. Filing a reference under Article 209 of the Constitution that is signed by the President and which presents a charge sheet against a Judge of the Superior Courts is a matter requiring utmost prudence and caution by its framers. However, in the present case, the actions of the respondents have violated not only the express provisions of the Constitution, the Rules of Business, the Income Tax Ordinance and Anti Money Laundering Act but have also ignored the law […] which specifically set out certain safeguards to protect Superior Court Judges from arbitrary actions of the Executive,” the judgement states.
“In these circumstances, the errors committed by them in the preparation and framing of the Reference cannot be termed as mere illegalities. Instead, in the context of Article 209, their [the government’s] errors amount to a wanton disregard of the law.
“As a result, although the preparation and framing of the Reference against the petitioner is not patently motivated with malice in fact, the scale and degree of the illegalities are such that the reference is deemed to be tainted with mala fide in law. For this reason, the reference is hereby quashed,” it added.
“Consequently, the ongoing proceedings against the petitioner in the Supreme Judicial Council also stand abated,” the judgement states.