–SC judge asks court not to allow Farogh Naseem’s representation, says his conduct is of a ‘tout’
–Naseem resigns as minister, says has no ‘personal vendetta’ against any person, judge or bar council
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem resigned on Monday to represent the federal government in the Supreme Court (SC) in the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa on June 2 (Tuesday), however the latter has urged the apex court not to allow Naseem’s representation, saying his conduct comes within the definition of “tout”.
According to the law, a serving minister cannot appear in a court of law as a lawyer, as their license is cancelled during their tenure in the office.
This is the second time that Naseem, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) stalwart, has resigned from his post. Previously, he had resigned in November last year to represent General Qamar Javed Bajwa before the apex court in a case pertaining to the extension in his tenure as the army chief.
In an official statement, Naseem said: “I’ll represent the federation in the case and therefore I have tendered my resignation as the law minister.”
“I have no personal vendetta [against] any person, judge, bar council or a lawyer not even with Justice Qazi Faez Isa,” he said further, adding: “I will appear in the Honorable Court only as a lawyer to assist the Hon’ble Court.”
A six-page application submitted by Justice Isa against Naseem’s representation in the SC states, “This Honourable Court may be graciously pleased not to permit private counsel to represent official respondents and not to permit Mr Farogh Nasim, who was Law Minister till 1 June 2020, to represent anyone (other than himself) as counsel.”
“One is further constrained to point out that his conduct also comes within the definition of ‘tout’ mentioned in section 2(m) the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973, which also describes, a tout as one ‘who procures…to any person interested in any legal business to procure’. In this case there has been double procurement. Mr Farogh Nasim, the Law Minister, procured this case for the Advocate, Mr Farogh Nasim,” the application read.
The top court judge said if the former law minister represents the government or anyone else in his case it would constitute “illegal practice in terms of Section 58 the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973”.
The federal government in May last year filed separate references with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against two Supreme Court judges, Justice Isa and Justice Karim Khan Agha, accusing the two judges of concealing their assets and recommend action against them under Article 209 of the Constitution.
According to Article 209, if the SJC finds the judge to be “incapable of performing the duties of his office or has been guilty of misconduct”, the president may remove the said judge from office.
Subsequently in August, Justice Isa approached the apex court and requested it to form a full-court bench comprising all eligible judges to hear his petition against the reference while accusing then chief justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa of “showing personal bias against him”.
He had argued that a judicial precedent for constituting a bench comprising the full court is already available in former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry vs the president of Pakistan through secretary and others.
Later in September, he moved another petition making a similar request. The judge was of the view that matters narrated in accompanying civil miscellaneous application dated August 26 – “which may for the sake of brevity be read as a part hereof” – demonstrates the necessity for hearing by such a full-court bench.
“The petition also raises a number of important constitutional questions, including that of the independence of the judiciary, the formation of an independent opinion by the president, obtaining federal cabinet’s approval and other vital issues of surveillance, and the manner and method of collecting evidence against a judge of the Supreme Court and his family,” he had said.