ISLAMABAD – Supreme Court on Monday admitted a review petitions filed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, challenging the apex court’s ruling on the presidential reference against him.
A 10-member bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, was hearing review petitions filed in June last year.
Justice Isa has raised objection over court’s decision regarding empowering the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in the to conduct an inquiry into offshore assets held by his spouse.
The SC judge has sought review and removal of paragraph two to 11 of the June 19 verdict.
The bench approved the review petition filed by Justice Isa’s wife Sarina Isa by a majority of 6-4. However, five judges accepted Justice Isa’s petition while five gave verdict against it.
Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Aminuddin Khan, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Mazhar Alam accepted all review petitions.
Justice Yahya Afridi accepted all petitions but he did not approve he one filed by Justice Isa.
Meanwhile, Justice Bandial, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah opposed the petitions.
The court declared that actions taken by FBR and all other relevant departments related to the assets of Justice Isa’s wife and children as illegal.
The judgement said that findings of the FBR could not be challenged in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) or any other legal forum.
The reference filed against Justice Isa by the government in May 2019 alleged that he acquired three properties in London on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015, but did not disclose them in his wealth returns.
Justice Isa contested the allegation, saying he is not a beneficial owner of the flats — neither directly nor indirectly.
In June 2020, the Supreme Court threw out the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, terming it “invalid”.
“[The reference] is declared to be of no legal effect whatsoever and stands quashed,” read the judgement.
The top court, accepting Justice Isa’s petitions seeking the reference’s dismissal, also withdrew a show cause notice issued to Justice Isa. The show cause notice was issued by the Supreme Judicial Council to Justice Isa in July of 2019 for “writing letters to President Arif Alvi” after the presidential reference was filed against him.
The judgement was announced by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who was heading the 10-judge bench hearing the case.
The short order directed that the FBR’s Inland Revenue Commissioner send a notice to the judge’s wife and children within seven days, asking them to give explanations about the nature and source of funding for three properties in their names in the United Kingdom.
Justice Isa then moved the apex court, seeking a review of the decision, especially related to orders issued to the FBR.
Bar associations, including the Sindh High Court Bar Association, also filed similar petitions against the verdict.
However, seven of the 10 judges on the bench hearing the case ordered the Inland Revenue Department and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to seek explanations from the judge’s wife and children on the nature and source of funding for three properties in their names in the United Kingdom and submit a report to the SC registrar.
Justice Isa then approached the apex court, seeking a review of the decision. Bar associations, including the Sindh High Court Bar Association, also filed similar petitions.
A seven-judge bench was formed by the SC to hear the petitions but four premier bar associations of the country challenged it in a joint one-page application and requested that the matter be placed before the CJP to form a larger bench comprising all the judges who had decided the constitutional petitions against the filing of the reference.
On Feb 24, a 10-judge bench was constituted to hear the set of review petitions.