Important development reported in SC over Justice Qazi Faez Isa case
ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Monday adjourned the hearing of Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s petition challenging the presidential reference filed against him over alleged non-disclosure of assets in his wealth statement till Tuesday.
A ten-member larger bench of the court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, Justice Faisal Arab, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed heard the case regarding proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
The reference filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa alleges that he acquired three properties in London on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015, but did not disclose them in wealth returns.
During the course of proceedings, Advocate Babar Sattar counsel for Justice Qazi Faez Isa said that he wanted to read Shabar Zaidi’s article. Article is very important because he (Shabbar Zaidi) now Chairman Federal Boars of Revenue (FBR), he added.
He said that wealth statement has nothing to do with wealth. He said that there was no link between wealth statement and return income.
He said that Income Tax 2001 Ordinance was neither related to income nor assets. Babar Sattar said that there has always been ambiguity in the wealth statement. Wealth statements did not exclude assets, he added.
Justice Faisal Arab said that wealth statements could be submitted at any time. Wealth was related to income, he added.
He said that there was no wealth without income. If there was income then there would be wealth, he added.
Justice Faisal Arab said that only the government’s wealth comes from revenue. He asked what to do if someone had submitted a wealth statement but did not specify the full income.
Babar Sattar said that there were also some conditions in which the wealth statement did not accumulate. All details were to be given at the time stated in the notice, he added.
He said that the citizen had to give details of his and his family’s wealth. Justice Munib Akhtar said that wealth statements were required to be provided in accordance with the terms of the FBR.
He said that the law says, over and above and asked did this not mean that a citizen had to disclose his self-sufficient wife children to the Wealth Statement? He said that he thought that’s the interpretation.
Babar Sattar said that no it was not so ad in the history of FBR, there was no such thing as self-sufficient wife, children giving information.
Justice Munib Akhtar said even if this is not the case in history, information should be shared. If FBR sought details then he should inform that they were self sufficient, he added.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said that he had come to understand that it was important for provisions of details regarding self-sufficient spouses and children. The Income Tax Commissioner could ask for information if needed, he added.
Babar Sattar said that if the Commissioner receives information by any means, the Commissioners could ask for more information.
He said that only the given form has to be completed. He said that no one can change the form.
He said that he gave the information according to what he received from the form. Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that the court was not sitting here to look at the Wealth Statement form.
He asked the counsel to answer allegations and not to indulge in minor details. He asked the counsel what was the point of his argument?
He asked the basic question is where did this money come from.
Babar Sattar said that this was not a basic question that he was saying was a basic question. He said that his main point was that the Wealth Statement only states his income.
He said that the terms of the Wealth Statement must meet the same requirements.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that here the court did not have the issue of the Wealth Statement.
Babar Sattar said that the whole matter was on the Wealth Statement of Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
Justice Maqbool Baqar asked the counsel that his client had not been disclosed his children’s assets. Under the law, he (Justice Qazi Faez Isa) was not obligated to disclose the assets, he added.
Justice Yahya Afridi asked how can he exposed assets that he did not own.
Justice Faisal Arab said that the issue was not the Wealth Statement, but the issue was related to abroad assets.
He asked the counsel to respond to allegations based on assumptions. It was alleged that the assets were made through money laundering, he added.
Babar Sattar asked what material did the president have to accuse of his client? Allegations were made without evidence, he added.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked the counsel whether his client received any notice. Babar Sattar responded that no notice was sent at all. He said that previously, it was not a condition to show off property and assets abroad and after amendment this responsibility was included.
He said that if a person makes a false statement in the Wealth Statement, he is fined. But if no one discloses the assets of his or her spouse’s children, there is no penalty, he added.
He said that this was what Shuber Zaidi wrote in his article.
He said that the Commissioner could issue notice again after reviewing the property.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked if the property is detected then notice is issued.
Babar Sattar said that yes separately showcause notices were issued. A separate show cause notice is issued if any misrepresentation is proved, he added.
Justice Muzahir Alam said that there was a restriction for the commissioner for reassessment of assets but there was no restriction for imposition of penalties.
He said that a notice must be issued by the Commissioner for the reassessment of the assets but no notice was issued to Justice Faez Isa .