Home Latest News SJC Opinion Finds Justice (retd.) Mazahar Ali Naqvi Guilty of Misconduct

SJC Opinion Finds Justice (retd.) Mazahar Ali Naqvi Guilty of Misconduct

Judicial forum says judge who retired following misconduct allegations should have been removed from his office

by Staff Report

Justice (retd.) Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi. Photo courtesy Supreme Court of Pakistan

The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on Thursday ruled that former Supreme Court Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi was guilty of misconduct, indicating he should have been dismissed from service before he tendered his resignation.

In a short statement, the top judicial forum said the former judge—who is facing several allegations of corruption—was guilty of misconduct and “should have been removed from the office of Judge.” The SJC is currently headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and comprises Justices Sardar Tariq Masood and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah; Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan; and Lahore High Court Chief Justice Amir Bhatti.

It said the SJC had considered six different complaints, in chronological order, and in respect of five the opinions expressed by the members to whom it was referred all recommended that there was no substance therein, with which the SJC concurred. “However, in respect of complaints submitted against a Judge of the High Court of Balochistan the SJC issued notice to submit his reply/explanation within 14 days,” it added.

On Naqvi, the SJC said it rendered its opinion in respect of the nine complaints against the former judge under Article 209(6) of the Constitution and “opined that he was guilty of misconduct and should have been removed from the office of Judge.” The ruling followed a judgment of the Supreme Court last month that SJC proceedings against a judge would not stop even after his resignation or retirement.

The SJC statement also maintained that if a reply or clarification is issued by, or on behalf of, a judge facing allegations, it does not violate Article V of the Code of Conduct, which states that a judge should not seek publicity. In this regard, it said, the following sentence was being added to Article V: “However, if an allegation is published against a judge, he may respond to it.”

After several hearings before the SJC, Justice (retd.) Naqvi tendered his resignation in February. He was followed by Justice (retd.) Ijazul Ahsan, who also resigned, triggering speculation over their untimely departure. In his resignation letter to President Arif Alvi, Naqvi had said: “… in the circumstances which are a matter of public knowledge and to some extent public record, it is no longer possible for me to continue to serve as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Considerations of due process also compel so.”

Citing sources, local media has reported that Naqvi has maintained he would challenge the SJC opinion, alleging it was “one-sided” and he had refused to become part of it. “The law does not allow to carry out proceedings against a judge once they have retired,” he reportedly said, adding the president had already accepted his resignation.

“How can the judicial council convert resignation into removal from office? Many council members had demanded premature action against me even before the filing of complaints,” he claimed, adding he was not provided any evidence proving he had misused his office. “I will challenge this decision and expose all the characters. I will approach the relevant legal forums and also inform the media,” he reportedly said.

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