A seven-member bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to send the matter of forming a new bench to hear the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa to the Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
The decision was taken after two Supreme Court judges, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, recused themselves from the seven-member bench, hearing a set of petitions challenging the reference against Justice Isa.
“We had already decided that we will not sit on the bench,” Justice Masood said. While Justice Ahsan said that “we have to uphold the oath we swore under all circumstances.”
Earlier, defense counsel Muneer A. Malik, who is representing Justice Isa, had requested the top court to form a full-court bench of capable judges, who are not members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), to hear his client’s petition.
On Tuesday, Malik claimed that two judges had a “direct interest” in the case against Justice Isa.
In his remarks, Justice Bandial noted that some judges did not want to be a part of the bench anymore and therefore, the matter will be sent to Justice Khosa.
The top judge “will decide if a new bench should be formed or not,” he wrote.
Earlier, as the hearing in the petition, filed by Justice Isa on Aug 26 seeking the formation of a full-court bench upon the matter, resumed on Tuesday.
The defense counsel argued that “any judge who has a personal stake in [the] reference should not be attached with the bench”.
“Judges whose interests are vested in [the presidential reference] should not be a part of this bench,” Muneer Malik insisted.