ISLAMABAD: Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi once again approached the Supreme Court on Monday, expressing his intent to pursue the constitutional petition he moved earlier seeking to quash the revised show-cause notice (SCN) issued by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

The fresh application was filed in response to a Nov 30 notice from the registrar’s office, requiring information on whether the respondent judge (Justice Naqvi) intends to proceed with the petition filed before the court.

On Nov 22, the SJC issued a revised SCN to the judge with a directive to present his defence within a fortnight. Justice Naqvi subsequently challenged the notice in the apex court.

In his reply to the registrar office’s fresh notice, the respondent judge contended that the notice was ultra vires of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980, and the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 (“2023 Act”).

Renews bid to quash SJC show-cause

The registrar lacks authority to inquire whether the respondent judge wishes to proceed with a case, the application said, adding that this notice is without jurisdiction and has no legal effect.

The respondent judge has also requested the apex court to withdraw the fresh notice and place the constitutional petitions filed by him before the committee, constituted under Sect­ion 2 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023, for appropriate orders.

The application pleaded that the petition has raised questions of public importance relating to the enforcement of the fundamental rights. Therefore, the points raised require interpretation of various constitutional provisions, including but not limited to articles 4, 9, 10A, 14, 25, 209 and 210 of the Constitution.

The application contended that the registrar has no authority under the 2023 Act to determine the maintainability of petitions under Article 184(3) of Constitution. Even otherwise the Supreme Court has consistently held that maintainability of a petition is to be decided by a bench of the apex court, and not by the registrar.

Moreover, the registrar also lacks the authority to decide whether any constitutional petition involves interpretation of constitutional provisions. This authority is exclusively vested in the committee under Sections 3 and 4 of the 2023 Act.

Meanwhile, Mian Dawood, a Lahore-based lawyer and one of the complainants against Justice Naqvi, has also moved an application before the SJC with a request that Justice Ijazul Ahsan, who was the member of the council, should recuse himself since the judge differed on the issuance of the SCN and the revised SCN to Justice Naqvi.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2023

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