ISLAMABAD: Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi requested to place his constitution petitions before a committee, constituted under Section 2 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, for appropriate orders.
Advocate on Record (AOR) Syed Rifaqat Hussain Shah, on the direction of Justice Naqvi, a judge of the Supreme Court, on Monday, replied to the SC Registrar’s notice dated 30-11-23, to inquire as to whether the judge wanted to proceed with his petition.
It is prayed that both the constitutional petitions, filed by Justice Naqvi, be numbered and fixed for hearing before an apex court bench. It is urged that the notice be withdrawn.
Justice Naqvi has sent a copy of his reply to the apex court committee as well. He objected to the registrar inquiring him about proceeding with the case, stating that the notice received is ultra vires the Supreme Court Rules, 1980 and the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 (2023 Act).
“The Registrar has no authority to inquire from a petitioner whether he or she wants to proceed with a case or not. This notice is, therefore, without jurisdiction and of no legal effect,” the reply stated.
In his message, he maintained: “Both constitution petitions raise questions of public importance relating to the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.” He also revealed that his applications have not been numbered yet and that it “is in violation of the provisions of the 2023 Act”.
The application continued that first, under the Act 2023, “the Committee is not authorized to delegate to the registrar its authority under Sections 2, 3 and 4”.
Second, it added, that the registrar had no authority under the Act 2023 to determine the maintainability of petitions under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. Justice Naqvi maintained that the apex court has consistently held that the maintainability of a petition was to be decided by a bench of this court and not by the registrar.
“Third, the registrar has no authority to decide whether any constitution petition involves interpretation of constitutional provisions. This authority is exclusively vested in the Committee under Sections 3 and 4 of the 2023 Act,” Justice Naqvi concluded.
It was demanded in the letter that “without prejudice to the above, even as per the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee dated 26.10.2023 (reproduced in the subject notice) a constitution petition involving interpretation of constitutional provisions is to be placed before the Committee”.
“This notice, with respect, establishes that the registrar has not only failed to act by the provisions of the Act 2023 but has also failed to comply with the express directions of the Committee by choosing not to place these petitions before the Committee,” it said.
On November 10, Justice Naqvi submitted his response to the show cause notice, accusing three SJC members – Chief Justice QaziFaez Isa, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, and Balochistan High Court (BHC) Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan – of bias and requesting their recusal. Despite Justice Naqvi’s objections, the SJC set a hearing for November 20 to review the complaints against him.
During the proceedings on 20-11-23, Justice Naqvi appeared before the SJC along with his counsel and examined the original filed, maintained by the Council.
The SJC heard the complainants on 21-11-23 in his and his counsel’s presence. The next day i.e. 22-11-23 the Council by a majority of 4:1 decided to issue a revised show cause notice to him.
On November 20, Justice Naqvi also lodged a constitution petition in the apex court, contesting the council’s proceedings. He requested the court to nullify the misconduct allegations against him, deeming them “without lawful authority and of no legal effect”. In the petition submitted on Thursday, November 30, the SC judge gave para-wise replies to 10 allegations with regard to which the SJC had sought clarification from him on November 22.
Three days ago, while vehemently denying the various allegations levelled against him, Justice Naqvi once again requested the apex court to quash the misconduct proceedings initiated against him by the SJC. In his second constitution, Justice Naqvi also requested the court to declare as “without legal authority”, the SJC’s second and revised show cause notice issued on November 22.
It is the stance of Justice Naqvi that despite his petitions and applications, the SJC is proceeding against him which is seriously prejudicing his constitutional petitions. “If any order is passed [by the SJC] on the basis of the proceedings, it may frustrate my submissions, agitated in the constitution petitions,” he added in his petition.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023