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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa has summoned a Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) meeting to discuss various complaints against the apex court’s judges today (Friday).

The sources say that the meeting will be held at 11:30am to consider all pending complaints of misconduct moved against superior courts’ judges, including Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar.

The Council comprises CJP Faez, the two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court – Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Afghan.

Justice Tariq says ‘No action required against 4 judges under Article 209 of Constitution’

This will be the first meeting of the SJC under CJP Isa and was convened after a gap of over three years.

Former Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on 30th May sought an opinion of Justice Tariq Masood regarding the complaints against Supreme Court Judge Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar on charges of misconduct.

Four complaints have been filed against the incumbent judge of the Supreme Court by Mian Dawood, a Lahore-based lawyer, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Lawyers Forum, Punjab, PBC Vice Chairperson Haroon Rasheed and Council’s Chairperson Executive Committee Hasan Raza Pasha and Advocate Ghulam Murtaza Khan, for amassing illegitimate assets and misconduct.

The SJC is the only constitutional forum that can examine the conduct of superior courts judges and recommend their removal under Article 209 of the Constitution. However, so far, no SC judge has been removed in the SJC’s history.

More than two dozen complaints have been pending with the SJC, some of them for years, the sources further said. Under the SJC inquiry rules, the SJC chairman had referred complaints filed against the two serving SC judges and two retired CJPs to Justice Masood seeking his opinion.

Some citizens had filed complaints against Justice Ijazul Ahsan as well as former CJPs Umar Ata Bandial and Mian Saqib Nisar. A complaint had also been filed against Justice Ayesha Malik.

Justice Masood, after reviewing the complaints, sent his opinion to the SJC chairman, declaring that these complaints were not maintainable as they were based on judicial orders upheld in the apex court.

The SJC is established under Article 209 of the Constitution to inquire into the capacity and misconduct of a Judge.

According to Section 7 of the SJC Procedure of Enquiry Rules 2005, once any information in respect of inquiry into the conduct of a judge is received by any member or the council, it is presented to the council’s chairman.

“[The chairman] shall (a) refer the same to any member of the council to look into the said information; and to express his opinion in relation to the sufficiency or otherwise of the information.

“If the council is satisfied that the information prima facie discloses sufficient material for an inquiry, it shall proceed to consider the same.”

It states that the member, to whom the chairman has referred the information, would “examine the same and ascertain if the information so received discloses specific particulars of misconduct, and provides factual details necessary to form prima facie opinion in respect of the guilt of the judge”.

If the member forms an opinion that the information does reveal sufficient material to commence an inquiry, he informs the council accordingly and the information is placed before the council.

“If the member comes to a conclusion that the information is false, frivolous, concocted or untrue, he shall inform the council accordingly and may recommend action against the person who initiated the information,” it notes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Tariq Qurashi Oct 27, 2023 10:06am
I think this is a good decision by the CJ because he is starting at the top. Given the unfortunate reputation of our Lower Courts, and in some cases our High Courts as well, the CJ could initiate a process of investigating malpractice and complaints in the Lower and High courts as well. There are not that many judicial officers all round the country, so taking on this initiative is doable. Also the CJ might investigate and correct the causes for delays in the courts. There is a lot on unnecessary time wasting and sometimes intentional delays. Anyway, I think the CJ has taken a good first step.
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