ISLAMABAD: The participation of Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) proceedings on a misconduct complaint against Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi was challenged in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Advocate Mian Dawood, one of the complainants who had filed a misconduct complaint against Justice Sayyed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, filed a petition in the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the Federation of Pakistan through the Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice and the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) through its secretary as respondents. He prayed to declare that Justice Ijazul Ahsan’s participation in the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council violates Articles 9 and 10A of the Constitution. He further prayed that a next most senior may replace Justice Ijazul Ahsan as a member of the Supreme Judicial Council to decide his complaint against Justice Ali Akbar Naqvi.
Interestingly, Justice Sayeed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi had also earlier filed constitutional petitions in the apex court seeking the recusal of Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, chairman, as well as Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Naeem Afghan, members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
Dawood is one of the complainants before the SJC about the violation of the code of conduct by Justice Sayyed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi. He submitted that one of the allegations, upon which a show cause notice has been issued to Justice Naqvi, is related to the audio conversations between him and Abid Shahid Zuberi (counsel for the petitioner in C.P. No. 3988/2022), Ch. Pervez Elahi (former chief minister, Punjab), and Jehangir A. Jhoja, ASC.
He submitted that the reference was heard by a bench of which Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, along with Justice Sayyed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, were a part. He submitted that Justice Ijazul Ahsan is a member of the Supreme Judicial Council, which has issued a show cause notice to Justice Akbar Naqvi, albeit Justice Ahsan voted against the issuance of a show cause notice to Justice Naqvi.
Mian Dawood submitted that he has moved an application before the Supreme Judicial Council requesting that Justice Ijazul Ahsan may graciously recuse himself from participating in further proceedings before the SJC, given that he was a member of the bench and signatory to the orders passed in C.P. No. 3988/2022.
The participation of Justice Ijazul Ahsan in the proceedings before the Supreme Judicial Council contributes to and raises grave concerns vis-à-vis the appearance of impartiality, he contended.
He submitted that the proceedings before the SJC, being the only body for judicial accountability, must, therefore, be above and beyond any suspicion or doubt as to the bias and/or conflict of interest of any of its members.
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