Verdict reserved by CJP Umar Ata Bandial on plea seeking withdrawal of curative review petition against Justice Qazi Faez Isa
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Monday reserved a verdict on a petition filed by the government seeking withdrawal of a curative review petition in a case against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
The chief justice held an in-chamber hearing on the petition when Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan and Advocate-on-Record Anees Muhammad appeared before him.
During the hearing, the AGP submitted his arguments in this regard. After which, the top judge reserved the verdict, stating it will be pronounced soon.
The Supreme Court (SC) heard the federal government’s appeal for the withdrawal of its curative review petition against a court order that accepted the review petitions challenging the court’s June 19, 2020, judgment on the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa in which the court had empowered the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to conduct an inquiry into the assets of the judge’s family.
Earlier, the registrar’s office (RO) had returned a set of nine curative review petitions on May 25, 2021 filed by the PTI-led government on the grounds that the petitions contained “scandalous language”. The SC office also observed that a second review petition could not be filed against a decision already given on a review petition. The RO had highlighted that the curative appeals contained many other deficiencies.
Subsequently, the federal government had lodged an appeal before the SC against the refusal by the RO to entertain unheard of legal remedy — curative review petition — in the Justice Isa case.
However, on March 30, the PDM government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered the withdrawal of the curative review reference as the government decided to not pursue the matter further.
Speaking to journalists after CJ Bandial completed the in-chamber hearing, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Awan revealed that the government has submitted that “in our constitution, there is no room for a second review or curative review”.
“In India, a second review was filed after a court judgment which was decided in 2002 following which the SC of India amended its rules and created a provision for curative review, pursuant to that judgment” he explained.
“That amendment was followed by judicial proceedings,” he said, “whereas in this case there was an objection on the administrative side by the RO, against which there exists a remedy in the rules”.
“At that time (when the reference was filled) the government did not avail that remedy, [but] this government is no longer interested in availing the remedy, it seeks to withdraw that appeal,” said AGP Awan.
“If the withdrawal order goes through then the consequence will be that the office order will be sustained, and that will be the end of it.”
He did not reveal further details about the proceedings, however.
The AGP also declined to comment on a journalist’s question about the maintainability of a reference against a CJ according to the constitution.
Earlier, Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif had ordered withdrawal of the curative review reference against Justice Isa. The PM directed the law minister to withdraw the reference as the government had decided not to pursue it. He said Justice Isa and his family were harassed and defamed through the reference.
PM Shehbaz Sharif claimed that the reference was moved by a “vengeful Imran Niazi” against an honest judge. It was an attack on the independence of the judiciary and a nefarious conspiracy to divide the institution, he said. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and allies had condemned the reference, he added.
He said Imran Khan misused the constitutional office of the president for filing the reference.
Lawyers’ organisations, including the Pakistan Bar Council, had also opposed the reference and the PML-N appreciated their gesture.