Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor on Tuesday submitted a response on Justice Qazi Faiz Isa’s petition against proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council against him, as a 10-member larger bench led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial turned down a plea by the counsel of the Supreme Court judge seeking deferment of the hearing of his petition against a presidential reference for two weeks. The larger bench instead deferred the case until October 14 as it resumed hearing a set of 17 petitions challenging the presidential reference against Justice Isa. While turning down the plea, Justice Bandial said that a member of the bench has to travel out of the country after two weeks. He also clarified that for now the court is only listening to the arguments surrounding maintainability of the petitions.Attorney general excused for submitting late reply while Munir A Malik, the counsel of Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, argued in the court that while the petition says that allegations against his client are based on malafide intentions, there is no mention of the point in the reply. He observed that a ‘proxy’ complainant was using Article 209 of the constitution to persecute the top court judge because of certain hard-hitting judgments.When the counsel questioned the apex court’s prerogative to decide the matter at the earliest despite a delay by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in submitting a statement before the court, Justice Bandial said the court cannot prolong the matter. “Justice Isa is not a ‘gentleman’ who has stolen money from the people,” noted Justice Bandial. “However, there is still an allegation that he acquired three properties dishonestly during his tenure as chief justice of the Balochistan High Court. He also did not disclose them in the wealth statement,” he said, adding that the allegation was a ‘stain’ on the judicial institution, hence the matter could not be brushed under the rug. The apex court judge said the recusal of two SC judges – Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan – was a painful situation. He observed that the present case is different from Iftikhar Chaudhry’s case used as a precedent by Justice Isa’s counsel in the matter. Justice Bandial noted that the case is one of its kind. Munir responded that the case is a trial of the entire judiciary.Malik argued that the judge and his family members were spied upon. “A campaign was launched against my client,” he said. Justice Bandial asked the counsel to elaborate his allegation with the help of the background of the case. Malik responded that his client had passed a verdict which was disliked. “Following the decision, a well-deliberated campaign was launched against my client,” he added. “Three properties were purchased overseas when the petitioner was chief justice of the Balochistan High Court,” Justice Bandial noted, asking if that wasn’t the case. Malik responded, “The entire nation is looking to this bench, so why hurry? I want the 10-member bench to safeguard this institution.” Justice Bandial said, “We are trying to hear the case as soon as possible. We are here to hear cases. Let us know if you want a prolonged deferment of the case.” He asked Munir to submit his arguments in response to the replies to the petition as soon as possible.Raza Rabbani, who has also petitioned the court, also asked to be heard. He said that he has additionally highlighted the 2005 rules in his plea while some points in the petition were the same as in other applications. Justice Bandial replied to Rabbani that the court will listen to him on his turn after the counsel of the central petitioner in the case completes his arguments.Senior counsel Rasheed A Rizvi, representing the Sindh High Court Bar Association before the apex court, raised an objection saying that the court at this point is neglecting 15 other petitioners. “This is a case, not a cake in which everyone ought to have a share,” Bandial responded to Rizvi. He added that the bench has to get on with hearing the case. He said that Rizvi will be provided a copy of the reply submitted by the attorney general.Bilal Manto, another senior counsel and a petitioner in the case, said that he has already submitted an application seeking answers about the establishment of the Supreme Judicial Council. He said he has also sought record of the proceedings in the council. “I won’t be able to present arguments without access to the record,” he said. “Your request will be considered at a later stage,” Justice Bandial said.