In detailed verdict, SC says tax authority obtained records of Justice Isa, family unlawfully

Maryam Nawaz

  • Justice Yahaya says FBR breached confidentiality of Sarina Isa’s tax returns.
  • Justice says Shahzad Akbar, Farogh Naseem gave "unlawful" directions to FBR.
  • SC says Sarina Isa was not provided a fair and meaningful hearing.

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Saturday issued the detailed verdict in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa review case, saying that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) obtained the tax records of the judge and his family in an "unlawful" manner.

The detailed verdict followed a short order issued on April 26, 2021, where a 10-member full court bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, wrapped up the review case.

It had set aside a June 19, 2020 judgment on the matter and nullified all proceedings that came as a result of it.

On June 19, 2020, a presidential reference filed against Justice Isa over alleged failure to disclose properties in London was quashed by the apex court.

However, it had authorised the FBR to probe the matter further and compile a report of its findings after investigating Justice Isa's wife and her financial dealings.

The SJC had initiated the proceedings over Justice Isa's alleged non-disclosure in wealth returns of three London properties acquired on lease in the name of his wife and children between 2011 and 2015.

In today's detailed verdict, Justice Yahya said: "...the tax officials on the unlawful directions issued by the Chairman ARU, Barrister Shahzad Akbar with the concurrence of the Federal Law Minister, Dr Farogh Naseem, breached the statutory confidentiality of Mrs Sarina Faez Isa’s tax returns."

Justice Afridi, referring to the SC's earlier judgement, also noted that the apex court did not the authority to issue directions to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on initiating an inquiry against Justice Isa.

"To sum up, it would be safe to state that this Court did not have the jurisdiction to issue the impugned directions to the Council to consider initiating, or otherwise, an inquiry against the Petitioner Judge based on the 'information' received from the tax officials of the FBR," Justice Afridi said.

Meanwhile, the detailed verdict mentioned that the apex court had ordered an investigation against the judge's family without providing a fair and meaningful hearing to Mrs Isa, "thus violating the principle of natural justice".