Resignation won’t halt SJC proceedings against judge: SC

News Desk
Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday partially accepted the federal government’s intra-court appeal and ruled that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) proceedings could continue against a judge even after his resignation.

A five-member larger bench headed by Justice Amin-ud-din Khan announced the short verdict and partially accepted the federal government’s intra-court appeal against its judgment delivered in 2023 in Afia Sheharbano Zia’s case.

The other members of the bench comprised Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel, Justice Hassan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Musarrat Hilali and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan.The top court in Afia Sheharbano Zia’s case held that the judges who retire or resign did not fall within the ambit of Article 209 of the Constitution that determines misconduct of the superior court judges.

In the short verdict on Wednesday, the apex court ruled that it’s the discretion of the SJC whether or not to proceed against a judge in a pending complaint.Four of the five judges of the bench declared the intra-court appeal maintainable, while Justice Rizvi dissented with the majority verdict to the extent of the appeal being time-barred.

The apex court said the detailed reasons for the verdict will be issued later.The federation — through secretary Law and Justice — had filed the intra-court appeal with the apex court under Section 5 of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act 2023 read with Article 184(3) of the Constitution against the judgment dated June 27, 2023 delivered in Afia Sheharbano’s case.

The federal government had prayed the top court to set aside the impugned judgment after allowing the instant intra-court appeal. It was also prayed to hold that a judge against whom the proceedings were initiated under Article 209 of the Constitution ought to be proceeded against and his resignation would not result in abatement of such proceedings.

It is pertinent to mention that the need for challenging the judgment in Afia Sheharbano case was propped up after the resignation tendered by Sayyed Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi, judge of the Supreme Court, when the apex court was proceeding against the judge on misconduct complaints filed by various lawyers as well as the Pakistan Bar Council.