ISLAMABAD: Another complaint has landed before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against a sitting apex court judge over his alleged misconduct, with a plea to issue a show-cause notice to him and the council may give its report to the president in case his reply is found to be unsatisfactory during the proceedings.

This is the fourth complaint filed before the SJC requiring a thorough inquiry against Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Naqvi in terms of Rule 9 of the SJC Procedure of Enquiry, 2005.

Advocate Ghulam Murtaza Khan submitted the fresh application while the previous complaints were filed by Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), PML-N Lawyers’ Forum, a Lahore-based lawyer and social media influencer Advocate Mian Dawood.

Currently, a five-member SJC comprises Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh and Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan, with Supreme Court registrar Ishrat Ali as its secretary.

Fresh application contains allegations of getting favours, misuse of office

The judge’s conduct, the fresh application stated, was unbecoming of a judge and he was allegedly guilty of misconduct within the meaning of Article 209(5)(b) of the constitution, read with Rule 3(l)(i) of the SJC enquiry procedure. Also, the judge’s conduct was in disregard of Articles III, VI, and VIII of the Code of Conduct for Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts issued under Article 209(8), read with SJC enquiry procedures.

According to the complaint, a number of audio clips of purported conversation between the Supreme Court judge and the then Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi reflected their intimate and close relationship. At the time of this conversation, the then principal secretary to CM, Mohammad Khan Bhatti, was present at the residence of the judge, the complaint alleged, arguing that it clearly explained the judge allegedly received favours from the ex-CM and his principal secretary, and in return influenced the outcome of cases of people close to him.

The judge, the complaint alleged, had been guilty of misconduct by influencing the secretary of religious affairs and interfaith harmony in procuring favourable decisions for his sons. A law firm of the judge’s sons maintains its office and occupies 2,011sq-feet place of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), the SJC was informed. Initially, the judge used his influence to secure these premises for setting up the offices of his sons at the rental that they had agreed with ETPB, but later the rent was significantly reduced to a paltry sum of Rs9 per square feet and the total rent the sons of the judge pay for this prime property situated on the Mall Road, Lahore, was meager Rs18,101 per month, the complaint alleged.

The complaint further alleged that the judge misused his office by getting his sons enlisted on the panels of FBR, NHA and other organisations. He was known for reaching out to high court judges to seek their indulgence and favorable outcome in cases his sons were pleading, it added.

A known developer, Zahid Rafique, in addition to giving commercial plots, transferred 10,000 pounds to a daughter of the judge in the UK besides paying for her accommodation for 51 weeks at a weekly rental of 395 pounds etc, according to the complaint.

The developer also arranged accommodation of his son at a five-star hotel in London, Montcalm Royal London House, for 10 nights. In return, it alleged, the judge influenced his position to allegedly protect the business interest of the developer and secured postings and transfers of different assistant commissioners, SHOs, DSPs and judicial officers etc. The total number of postings and transfers comes to a whopping 60 postings/transfer.

The complaint further alleged that the judge influenced Mohammad Arif Khan’s appointment as chairman of the Zakat and Ushr committee of Toba Tek Singh district.

The appointment was managed through Mr Bhatti, it alleged.

It also cited several plots in different areas, which were in the possession of the judge.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2023

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