• Seeks documents to prepare his reply
• Justice Ahsan’s participation in SJC challenged

ISLAMABAD: Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, who is facing complaints of misconduct, on Wednesday invited the attention of the Supreme Court committee comprising three senior-most judges to the silence over his petitions challenging the issuance of a show-cause notice (SCN) despite the lapse of time as stipulated in the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Act, 2023.

“[I]t is astonishing that none of the petitions is numbered nor put in the process for fixing before the court despite the lapse of time as stipulated in the Supreme Court (Practice & Procedure) Act, 2023,” the SC judge said in his latest letter.

The letter has been written to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, senior puisne judge Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan — all members of the SC committee as well as of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), which is seized with a set of complaints of misconduct against Justice Naqvi.

The judge highlighted that under sections 3 and 7 of the 2023 Act, the senior judges were entrusted with the responsibility of fixing for hearing, no later than 14 days, petitions filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and applications seeking interim relief.

But despite filing these petitions and applications, the SJC is proceeding against him which, the letter contended, is seriously prejudicing his petitions before the Supreme Court wherein his fundamental rights have been intruded upon on the basis of “malicious persecution based on bald and frivolous allegations”. The letter requested that the petitions and applications be fixed before an SC bench.

Letter to SJC secretary

Justice Naqvi has also written a separate letter to the SJC secretary, asking the latter to furnish a number of documents without which, the judge said, he would not be in a position to prepare his reply to the SCN within time.

The documents included a letter written by former CJP Umar Ata Bandial while referring the complaints against the respondent judge to Justice Sardar Tariq Masood to form his opinion, as well as the copy of his opinion furnished, to what the letter said, after keeping for about four months.

The documents also include a copy of the proceedings during which the first SCN was issued on Oct 28, copy of the proceedings and order whereby the complainants and record were requisitioned under Article 210 of the Constitution, copy of the proceedings and the provision under which the personal hearing was granted to the respondent judge after issuance of SCN, copy of the order and provision of law under which the complainants were summoned and their statements recorded reiterating the allegations which were recorded while the respondent judge was asked to keep ‘mum’.

In a related development, one of the complainants against Justice Naqvi filed a petition in the Supreme Court to declare that Justice Ahsan’s participation in SJC’s proceedings is a violation of Articles 9 and 10A of the Constitution. Advocate Mian Dawood pleaded that Justice Ahsan may be replaced with the next senior most judge. The judge had voted against the issuance of SCN to Justice Naqvi on Nov 22.

Mr Dawood contended that an impartial judge was a fundamental desideratum to the right to a fair trial and due process of law.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2023

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