ISLAMABAD    -   The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned hearing of Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s petition challenging the presidential reference filed against him over alleged non-disclosure of assets in his wealth statement until Wednesday.

The reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa alleges 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 wealth returns.

A ten-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprised Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, heard the case regarding proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

During the course of proceedings, Muneer A Malik counsel for Justice Qazi Faez Isa asked is it not proper that the Supreme Court should give guidelines what the government should do and what it should not so that judges’ privacy should not be violated and their families should not be snooped upon.

He questioned the role of Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem in filing presidential reference against his client. He said the law minister bypassed the cabinet and sent the summary directly to the prime minister.

He said the law minister directed the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) to inquire about Justice Isa and his family after filing the presidential reference. The law minister also issued a press statement about the filing of the presidential reference, he added.

Muneer A Malik said the presidential reference was filed without jurisdiction and constitutional authority. The president acted otherwise as it was required in Article-209 of the Constitution, he added.

He said the President did not form an opinion independently before sending the presidential reference.

He said every breach of law was not a violation of judges’ code of conduct. He said the power to send reference is unique and the President should use discretion in filing references.

Justice Muneeb Akhtar noted that after the passage of the 18th constitutional amendment, President discretion was wiped out.

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said, “If any government department like FBR finds out any irregularity of any judge how will it pass on information to the President.”

Muneer Malik said the President can only directly use Article 58(2).

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked if an organization has information about a judge, how will they act?

Muneer Malik said the institution has to keep in mind the rules of the organization and it will also be necessary to obtain permission. “I’ll give more arguments tomorrow (Wednesday) on the appointment and removal procedure of the judge, he added.