The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on Monday dismissed a complaint against Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, finding “no substance” in the allegations filed against the senior puisne judge.
Led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, the SJC meeting was summoned to review complaints against Justices Masood and Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi. However, due to the time spent resolving the complaints against Justice Masood, deliberations on Justice Naqvi’s reference were put off a day and would be taken up today (Tuesday).
“There is no substance in the complaint and we are of the opinion that it was filed maliciously to defame Justice Sardar Tariq Masood,” read the order issued after the SJC meeting. “The complaint is dismissed,” it added of the allegations submitted by citizen Amna Malik.
According to the statement, Justice Masood has requested that action be taken against the complainant for publicly defaming him with “factually incorrect” allegations. He has similarly requested action against advocate Azhar Siddique, who had posted her complaint on social media. He has further called for public exoneration to counter his public defamation.
In its order, the SJC said the complainant had admitted that her complaint should not have been filed, as the allegations were incorrect. It said a notice was issued to Siddique, seeking an explanation within seven days on “whether he tweeted, and if he had why should action in accordance with law not be taken against him or as recommended to be taken.” However, the SJC ruled a decision on proceedings against the complainant for filing a false complaint would be taken later.
Complaints against Justice Naqvi
Senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed, who advanced preliminary arguments before the SJC, represented Justice Naqvi. During proceedings, officers of the Lahore Cantonment Board—where Justice Naqvi is accused of purchasing property beyond known means—were also present. The SJC would, today, conclude Justice Naqvi’s arguments and receive testimony from his complainants.
Ahead of the meeting, Justice Naqvi challenged the Oct. 28 show-cause notice issued to him by the SJC, arguing that the initiation of proceedings was without lawful authority. The petition contends that the judge has faced a malicious campaign since Feb 16. 2023, adding that false and baseless allegations have been openly and publicly levelled against him. It further argues he was subjected to a media trial, adding the complaints “were a direct and blatant attack on the independence of the judiciary.”
The petition also questions the participation of the CJP, Justice Masood, and BHC CJ Naeem Akhtar Afghan in the SJC proceedings, alleging bias. As such, it argues, all orders passed in proceedings with their participation lack lawful authority and have no legal effect.
Justice Naqvi’s petition argues that the manner in which the proceedings were initiated and the SJC order issued was repugnant to, and inconsistent with, fundamental rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution. It is also, it argues, in direct conflict with Supreme Court judgements, adding the press release of the previous SJC proceedings without his consent not only violates his fundamental rights but also subjects him to a media trial.
Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, the SJC comprises Justices Masood and Ijazul Ahsan, Lahore High Court CJ Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, and Balochistan High Court CJ Naeem Akhtar Afghan.