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Thursday February 22, 2024

Justice Naqvi asks SC to urgently hear pleas against SJC

In his message, he maintained: Both constitution petitions raise questions of public importance relating to the enforcement of Fundamental Rights

December 05, 2023
The Supreme Court of Pakistan building. — AFP/File
The Supreme Court of Pakistan building. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Justice Sayyed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi on Monday asked the Supreme Court to withdraw the Registrar’s Office notice issued to him and prayed for early fixation of his constitutional petitions, challenging the proceedings of Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in misconduct complaints filed against him

The judge through an advocate on record filed a reply to the notice, issued to him on November 30, 2023, by the Supreme Court Registrar’s office inquiring as to whether he wanted to proceed with his petition. Justice Naqvi submitted: “It is humbly prayed that the subject notice be withdrawn and both constitution petitions filed by the petitioner be placed before the Committee (constituted under Section 2 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 for appropriate orders and, thereafter, the petitions along with the applications for interim relief be numbered and fixed for hearing before a Bench of this Court.”

He maintained that the notice and the order, purportedly passed by the registrar, are ultra vires the Supreme Court Rules, 1980 and the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023. “The Registrar has no authority to inquire from a petitioner whether he or she wants to proceed with a case or not. This notice is, therefore, without jurisdiction and of no legal effect,” the judge contended. Justice Naqvi while replying to the assistant registrar (Civil-II) that the two constitutional petitions he filed should be fixed together for a hearing before a three-member bench committee.

In his message, he maintained: “Both constitution petitions raise questions of public importance relating to the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.” He also said that his applications have not been numbered yet and that it “is in violation of the provisions of the 2023 Act”. The application continued that first, under the 2023 Act, “the Committee is not authorised to delegate to the registrar its authority under Sections 2, 3 and 4”.

Secondly, it added, that the registrar had no authority under the 2023 Act to determine the maintainability of petitions under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. Justice Naqvi maintained that the apex court has consistently held that the maintainability of a petition was to be decided by a bench of this court and not by the registrar. “Third, the registrar has no authority to decide whether any constitution petition involves interpretation of constitutional provisions”, the judge submitted adding that this authority is exclusively vested in the Committee under Sections 3 and 4 of the 2023 Act,”

Fourth, as per Section 7 of the 2023 Act an application seeking interim relief shall be fixed for hearing within fourteen days from the date of its filing adding that an application for interim relief was filed by him with the first petitions however,, that application has not been fixed for hearing till date, the judge maintained.

“Without prejudice to the above, even as per the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee dated 26.10.2023 (reproduced in the subject notice) a constitution petition involving interpretation of constitutional provisions is to be placed before the Committee”, Justice Naqvi contended. The judge submitted that this notice, with respect, establishes that the registrar has not only failed to act by the provisions of the 2023 Act but has also failed to comply with the express directions of the Committee by choosing not to place these petitions before the Committee.

Justice Naqvi said that it was correct that the senior counsel representing him had stated in his presence that when specific allegations are formulated, the petitioner would respond thereto but had not stated that when specific allegations are formulated, he will not press any of the legal, constitutional and jurisdictional objections pertaining thereto, or otherwise, as raised in the first petition.

The judge submitted that the very first ground taken in the first petition is that the show cause notice is without jurisdiction and nullity in the eyes of the law adding that the issues raised by the petitioner are all life issues, and germane to the prayer made by him in the first petition, and as such the petitioner not only wants to proceed with the first petition, it is also his constitutional and fundamental right to do so.

In this respect, the petitioner has expressly stated in the second petition filed on November 30, 2023, that it is being submitted in addition to and not in suppression or substitution of the earlier constitution petition”, the judge submitted adding that he wants to proceed with his constitution petition filed on November 20, 2023.

Justice Naqvi requested that the subject notice be withdrawn, both the petitions be placed before the Committee for appropriate orders and thereafter, the petitions along with the applications for interim relief be numbered and fixed for hearing before a bench of this court.

The judge further requested that this response be placed before the Committee. It is pertinent to mention here that recently while denying allegations leveled against him, Justice Naqvi had requested the apex court to to quash the misconduct proceedings initiated against him by the SJC. In his second constitution, Justice Naqvi also requested the court to declare as “without legal authority” the SJC’s second and revised show cause notice issued on November 22.