Two Supreme Court judges have recused themselves from hearing the petition challenging the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had formed a seven-member bench to hear the case, which has been dissolved now. Justice Umar Ata Bandial was heading the bench. Other members included justices Maqbool Baqar, Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Sardar Tariq Masood, Faisal Arab, Ijazul Ahsan, and Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.
Justice Isa’s lawyer, Munir A Malik, had filed a petition seeking recusal of Justice Ahsan and Justice Tariq on Tuesday. He said that they have raised reservations for the protection of the judiciary. It was reported that the two members were likely to benefit from the removal of the judge, adding that one will serve as chief justice for six months, while the other judge’s tenure as CJ will be extended.
No judge should be the decider of his own cause, the lawyer had argued.
The court has forwarded the matter to Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa. Justice Bandial said that they will request the chief justice to form a new bench
Justice Isa, however, maintained that he was not leveling allegations of bias against them.
On August 26, the judge had challenged in the top court the Supreme Judicial Council’s observations against him in the verdict dismissing the reference against the judge for writing letters to President Arif Alvi.
The council had dismissed the reference on August 19. The SJC wrote in its order that the “private letters” written to the president by Justice Isa “ha[d] not been found by us to be serious or grave enough to constitute misconduct sufficient for his removal from the exalted office of a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan”.
The judge, however, wants the remarks against him to be removed from the verdict.
He remarked, in the petition, the presidential reference against him for owning foreign properties can no longer be heard by the chairperson of the Supreme Judicial Council, Justice Khosa, and its other members because they “are no longer competent to hear it”. The members have shown “bias” against him as evident by their remarks in the reference dismissal verdict.