President Arif Alvi on Thursday accepted the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, according to a brief statement from his office.
Alvi, read the press release from the President House, accepted Naqvi’s resignation “on the advice of the prime minister under Article 179 (retiring age) of the Constitution.”
A day earlier, the judge had tendered his resignation due to “circumstances which are a matter of public knowledge and to some extent public record.” This refers to complaints of misconduct against him, which are pending before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) despite multiple attempts by him to have them scuttled.
Originally from Gujranwala, Naqvi was elevated to the Supreme Court on March 16, 2020 after serving for several years as a judge of the Lahore High Court (LHC). Last May, 10 separate allegations of misconduct were levelled against him, with then-Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial remarking during court proceedings that his inclusion on a bench was a “silent message” to the concerned quarters. Among the allegations against him were assets-beyond-means, as well as complaints of him facilitating fixation of favorable benches on request of political figures, triggered by an audio leak in which a voice allegedly belonging to him is heard talking to a voice allegedly belonging to former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi.
Following the elevation of CJP Qazi Faez, the SJC took up the complaints, issuing a show-cause notice to Naqvi in October and directing him to submit a reply within two weeks. In a preliminary reply submitted in November, Naqvi had cited “serious prejudice” against him and urged CJP Isa, Justice Tariq Masood Masood and Balochistan Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar to recuse themselves and not hear the matter.
Later that same month, Naqvi contested the SJC proceedings against him and also challenged the show-cause notice issued to him by the SJC, arguing the initiation of proceedings was without lawful authority. Rejecting his arguments, the SJC had issued a fresh show-cause notice to him on Nov. 22, with a direction to submit a reply in his defense within two weeks.
On Dec. 4, Naqvi had approached the Supreme Court and expressed his intent to pursue a constitutional petition seeking to quash the revised show-cause notice issued by the SJC. He had then written to a committee of the three senior-most judges of the Supreme Court over the delay in fixing his petitions before a bench, and also written to the SJC secretary seeking several documents alleging his misconduct, as, he said, this was necessary to prepare his reply to the show-cause notice. He had also written a letter addressed to all Supreme Court judges maintaining the treatment meted out to him by the SJC was “nothing short of disgraceful.”
On Dec. 15, the SJC had again given Naqvi two weeks to respond to the misconduct allegations and directed him to submit a reply to the show-cause notice by Jan. 1. Naqvi then filed a response, maintaining the allegations against him were “absolutely and maliciously false.” He had also reiterated arguments that the SJC was not empowered to entertain any complaint against a judge and was only entitled to receiving “information.”
A few hours before he tendered his resignation, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court rejected his request to stay SJC proceedings.