SJC Finds Justice (Retd) Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi Guilty Of Misconduct

Justice Naqvi is the first judge of the top court who has been determined to be guilty of misconduct in Pakistan's history

SJC Finds Justice (Retd) Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi Guilty Of Misconduct

The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has decided that Justice (retired) Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi was guilty of misconduct, it emerged on Thursday . 

The country's top judicial body has further determined that Naqvi should have been removed from the office of a judge.

It is worth mentioning here that Naqvi is the first Supreme Court judge to be declared guilty of misconduct.

Justice (retd) Naqvi had been accused of accumulating assets beyond known sources of income apart from being involved in certain questionable dealings. A total of 10 complaints had been filed against Justice Naqvi. In October 2023, the SJC issued a show cause notice to Justice Naqvi over the allegations levelled against him.

Justice Naqvi submitted a preliminary reply, where he posed questions of his own before the SJC and cited "serious prejudice" against him while demanding that three members of the SJC hearing the complaints against him, including Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, recuse themselves from hearing the matter. He later filed a detailed response to the show cause notices after obtaining documents relating to the complaints against him.

He also challenged the proceedings against him before the Supreme Court. But after the court rejected his request to stay the proceedings of the SJC against him, Justice Naqvi tendered his resignation to President Arif Alvi. 

Proceedings against Justice Naqvi commenced when he was still a judge of the Supreme Court; he resigned from his position on January 10, 2024. Despite his departure from the SC, the SJC continued its proceedings against him. 

According to a press statement issued on Thursday by the SJC's secretary, the council met on February 29, 2024, and again on March 1, 2024. The council reviewed the allegations levelled against judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts. 

It added that several judges had expressed concerns that responding to such allegations may be construed as misconduct because the Code of Conduct for judges, issued by the SJC on September 2, 2009, notes in Article V that a judge should not seek publicity. 

During the latest meetings, the SJC deliberated on the matter and opined that if a reply or clarification is issued by or on behalf of a judge, it does not violate Article V.

The SJC also amended Article -V of the code to enable the accused judge to respond if an allegation against them is publicised. 

According to the press statement, six different complaints, in chronological order, were heard. Of these, SJC members were of the opinion that there was no substance in five of the complaints. 

The SJC, however, issued notice to a judge of the Balochistan High Court (BHC) on the complaints submitted against him. 

"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 fourteen days."

The writer is an Islamabad based journalist working with The Friday Times. He tweets @SabihUlHussnain