Justice (Retd) Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi Asked To Make Complainants Against Him A Party In SJC Quashment Case

Written order by a three-judge bench of SC says stay of SJC proceedings is not tenable at this stage, suggests Justice Naqvi file an amended petition

Justice (Retd) Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi Asked To Make Complainants Against Him A Party In SJC Quashment Case

The Supreme Court has asked Justice (retired) Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi to name as a party all those who had filed complaints against him in the Supreme Judicial Council.

This was directed by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Aminud Din Khan and comprising Justices Jamal Khan Mandokhel and Musarrat Hilali, as it heard a case filed by Justice (retired) Naqvi, who had asked the court to quash hearings on ten complaints against him in the Supreme Judicial Council.

The court held that the complainants against Justice (retired) Naqvi, who recently resigned from the top court, are a necessary party in the petition he filed. 

"We are conscious of the fact that as the informers have been called to substantiate their complaints through evidence, therefore, in our view, at least they are a proper party for adjudication of the instant matter before this court," the three-judge bench observed in its written order. 

The court said that this question was posed to the counsel of Justice (retired) Naqvi that if the court makes any observation about any of the complaints or even, as per the pleadings of the petitioner, it is presumed that the complaints are mala fide, frivolous and politically motivated, they can only be considered if the complainants/informers are included as parties.

"In the interest of justice, we think it is necessary in the peculiar circumstances of this case that the complainants/informers who filed complaints before the SJC against the petitioner being proper person be made party as respondent and be heard to satisfy the maxim that no one should be condemned unheard if this court wants to comment upon their complaints." 

To reach a conclusion that the informers are to be impleaded, at least the informers are proper people to be impleaded as respondents, the court noted. 

"The argument on the basis that in the light of Contempt of Court Act 2003, in present proceedings, the informers cannot be impleaded has no relevance."

The court stated that when all the pleadings in Justice (retired) Naqvi's petitions revolve around the complaints/information by the informers, their impleadment as respondent in these petitions would serve the purposes of Justice.

"Therefore, petitioners of CP.Nos.43, 44 and 45 to implead all the complainants/informers as respondents in the said petitions," the court directed. 

During the hearing of the case, Justice (retired) Naqvi's lawyer, Makhdoom Ali Khan, submitted an interim order issued by the Supreme Court on May 7, 2007, in the case of Iftikhar Chaudhary, and prayed that an injunctive order be issued against the SJC to stay its proceedings. 

"We note that the instant CP was fixed for hearing on December 15, 2023, when learned counsel raised the objection with regard to the constitution of the bench and prayed that he wants to file an application to raise this objection so that this bench may consider the same and prayed for fixation of the petitions for January 8, 2024, and on his request the case was adjourned for the said date," the order read. 

However, no written application was filed when the case was fixed for January 8, 2024. During the hearing, Makhdoom Ali Khan stated that he wanted to withdraw the objection raised at the last hearing. 

"As the petitioner's counsel was not willing to implead the complainants as a respondent in these petitions, then a question was posed to the learned counsel whether, without impleading the complainants/informers, we can proceed with the matter and on this point, some of the arguments were advanced on January 8, 2024, and further arguments we heard today and passed the order of impleadment as respondent in these petitions."
The court, however, noted that the interim order cited did not apply to this case. 

"In these circumstances, the prayer for a stay of proceedings before the Supreme Judicial Council against the petitioner in CP Nos.43 and 44 of 2023 is not tenable at this stage."

The top court has suggested that the counsel for Naqvi file an amended petition. The top court directed the office to fix the matters for hearing when needful is done. 

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