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Tuesday February 20, 2024

SJC issues another notice to Justice Naqvi over misconduct complaints

“Apex court judge has been directed to submit his response within 14 days,” say sources

November 22, 2023
Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi. — Website/Supreme Court
Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi. — Website/Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: Following days of deliberations on misconduct complaints against Justice Mazahar Ali Naqvi, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on Wednesday issued another show-cause notice to the top court judge.

The notice, issued with a majority of four to one, sought clarification from Justice Naqvi on 10 points within 14 days, according to sources within the SJC.

The SJC meeting on the third consecutive day was held under the chairmanship of Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Justice Amir Bhatti, and Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court Justice Naeem Afghan attended the meeting as members of the top judicial body.

During the lengthy sessions, complaints were thoroughly examined, and after assessing the content of the complaints, the council decided to proceed with the complaints, the source added.

Following the deliberations, it was resolved, with a majority of four to one, to issue a show-cause notice to Justice Mazhar Naqvi and to further enhance the proceedings of the SJC.

According to the sources, Justice Ahsan dissented with the majority decision to issue a show-cause notice to the apex court judge.

Misconduct complaints

Several misconduct complaints were filed against Justice Naqvi during the tenure of former chief justice Umar Ata Bandial. Justice (retd) Bandial had referred the matter to Justice Masood for examining it and giving his legal opinion.

Initially, the misconduct complaint against Justice Naqvi was filed with the SJC by a Lahore-based lawyer Muhammad Dawood. Later on, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Haroon Rashid filed a misconduct complaint against the SC judge after an audio leak emerged purportedly featuring a conversation about the fixation of the case before a particular bench or judge with former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi.

Earlier in April, Justice Isa and Justice Masood urged then CJP Bandial to convene the meeting of the SJC for the consideration of misconduct complaints filed against Justice Naqvi.

In a joint letter addressed to all the members of the SJC, both the judges had said that they were “waiting for you to convene a meeting of the Council to consider the complaints and to ascertain whether there is a substance in the stated allegations; we must exonerate the respondent judge and fully restore his honour or else submit our report in terms of the Constitution”.

Both the senior judges said that written complaints were received, including from the PBC alleging misconduct and financial impropriety by Justice Naqvi.

‘Malicious campaign’

On Monday, Justice Naqvi filed a petition in the Supreme Court, terming the malicious campaign and consequent complaints against him a direct and blatant attack on the independence of the judiciary.

The SC judge accused the SJC of subjecting him to a "media trial" which has further maligned and ridiculed him in the public eye.

Justice Naqvi's plea challenged the show-cause notice issued to him by the judicial panel on October 27.

"These are violative of and inconsistent with the right to access to justice guaranteed under Articles 4, 9 and 10A of the Constitution," it read, adding that Justice Naqvi reserves the right to "urge further grounds and submit additional material in support thereof at the time of hearing".

The Supreme Court judge, in this petition, mentioned that the complaints against him are "mala fide and non-est".

"The proceedings of the SJC and the SCN are without jurisdiction, coram non judice and void ab initio. These are without lawful authority and of no legal effect," the plea read.