ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Thursday filed additional grounds of its review petition against the Presidential Reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

In its review petition, the SCBA fully adopted the reasoning and the conclusion drawn by Justice Maqbool Baqir and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah in their dissenting notes.

The SCBA stated that under Article 209(8) of Constitution, it is for the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and not the Supreme Court to issue a Code of Conduct, to be observed by the judges of the superior courts.

It added that however, the impugned judgment rewrites the Code of Conduct and that too retrospectively, by mandating that the failure of a judge not to make himself aware, or to make reasonable efforts to make himself aware or informed about the financial interests of his family members constitutes misconduct. It further stated that Code of Conduct issued by the SJC on 8th August, 2009 did not incorporate the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, the draft of which pre-dated the Code by almost 9 years. In fact, the adoption by the United Nations Economic and Social Council of the Bangalore Principles took place almost three years prior to the last amendment in the Code of Conduct.

The bar contended that importing the Bangalore Principles into the Code of Conduct is contrary to the law declared by the Supreme Court in numerous cases. It said, “Holding that the failure of the part of the family members of a judge of Supreme Court to explain their assets may render a constitutional judge liable for misconduct in effect resurrects the reviled doctrine of guilt by association and subjecting a constitutional judge to vicarious liability on the alleged sins of his family members imperils the independence of the judiciary.” It is also contrary to Article 4 of Constitution, the petition added.

The SCBA further argued that there was no positive law requiring constitutional judges of the superior courts to declare or inform themselves about the assets of their spouse or children nor is there such a requirement in the Code of Conduct. In fact the Code of Conduct does not even require judges to declare their own assets through public or confidential statements or declaration.