ISLAMABAD - Barrister Farogh Naseem representing the federation before the Supreme Court contended before it that proceedings against Justice Qaiz Faez Isa is not tax proceedings but disciplinary.

A ten-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial conducted hearing of identical petitions challenging presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez for allegedly not disclosing his foreign properties in his wealth statement. Besides the apex court judge, Pakistan Bar Council, Supreme Court Bar Association, Bar Councils & Association of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and Abid Hassan Minto, and I A Rehman have also challenged the Presidential Reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

During the hearing, Farogh Naseem adopted that the judge under legal obligation was bound to declare the properties held in the name of spouse and the children in his tax returns. But so far he has not given any justification and revealed the sources to purchase them. He argued it is irrelevant whether the wife is dependent or independent.

He submitted that the proceedings against the petitioner (Justice Qazi Faez) are related to misconduct and not of the tax. He maintained, “These are disciplinary proceedings.” He stated that the term misconduct is not defined in Article 209 of Constitution.

The counsel argued that higher principles have been set for the judge. Justice Baqir remarked that you mean to say that he (judge) should not be a bad guy.” The counsel said that Islamic Principles should not be ignored and reminded of the example set by Harzat Umar and Hazrat Ali. He said that Supreme Court of India has declared that judge is public servant and that office of judge is the public trust. He added, “I call it a sacred trust.” A judge should be blameless and his character should be such that no one can point finger at him.

Farogh cited Al-Jihad Trust verdict and argued that constitution does not make difference between dependent or independent wife because the spouse is someone who remains in close proximity. He then explained that in Asset Declaration Act, 2019, Voluntary Declaration of Assets Act 2018 the word wife has been mentioned without the distinction of dependent or independent wife.

He contended that the petitioner has been asked by Supreme Judicial Council to respond to the allegations leveled in the Presidential Reference. He contended that when the petitioner accepts the existence of properties then on the ground of proximity and sacred trust should declare the sources.