The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in Pakistan has been urged to initiate proceedings on allegations of “misconduct and financial impropriety” against Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, a fellow apex court judge. The call came from two senior judges of the Supreme Court, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, in a letter to the SJC. The letter stated that they had received several complaints, including from the Pakistan Bar Council, alleging misconduct and financial impropriety by Justice Naqvi.
The SJC is a body of judges empowered under Article 209 of the Constitution to hear cases of misconduct against top judges and hold them accountable. The constitutional body comprises of Chief Justice of Pakistan as its Chairman, two senior-most judges of the SC, and the two most senior Chief Justices from the High Courts. Justice Isa and Justice Masood are both members of the SJC.
In February this year, Advocate Mian Dawood filed a complaint against Justice Naqvi seeking an inquiry into his assets, accusing the judge of “misconduct” and “amassing illegitimate assets”. The Pakistan Bar Council also filed a complaint last month after audio leaks emerged purportedly featuring a conversation about the fixation of a case before a particular bench or judge with former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi.
In their letter, Justice Isa and Justice Masood noted that they had been waiting for the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the complaints and call a meeting of the judicial body over the matter. The two judges wrote in their letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, “Hon’ble Chief Justice [Umar Ata Bandial], we were waiting for you to convene a meeting of the Council to consider the complaint and to ascertain whether there is substance in the stated allegation. We must exonerate the respondent judge and fully restore his honour or else submit our report in terms of the Constitution.”
They added, “To leave the respondent judge under a cloud of uncertainty undermines both his and the judiciary’s repute. Confidence of the people in the integrity and independence of the judiciary requires us to proceed without any further delay.”
The SJC is a crucial institution responsible for safeguarding the independence and integrity of the judiciary in Pakistan. The call for an inquiry into the allegations of misconduct against Justice Naqvi is an important step towards upholding the rule of law and ensuring transparency and accountability in the judicial system. The timely resolution of the matter will help restore public confidence in the judiciary and strengthen the democratic institutions in the country.