ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has appealed to the chief justice to activate the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) so that it can hear complaints against judges of superior courts.
The top bar body is committed to strive for merit in the matters of administration of justice, said a resolution passed at a meeting of the council held with PBC Vice Chairman Senator Barrister Farogh Naseem in the chair.
Naseem stated that not only SJC will have to be activated the disciplinary committees of the Pakistan and provincial bar councils will also be required to strike off black-sheep from the advocates’ rolls.
According to the constitution, a judge belonging to the superior judiciary could only be removed under Article 209 of the Constitution by SJC. Chief justice heads the CJP that comprises of two next most senior judges of the SC and two most senior chief justices of high courts.
Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali after taking oath as chief justice had vowed to make SJC effective.
The chief justice while addressing a lawyers’ enrolment ceremony at the Islamabad Bar Council on October 30, 2015, said that around 90 per cent of the complaints filed against the judges of superior judiciary had become out-dated because the council had been inactive for the past few years.
The chief justice observed that the vast majority of references had become infructuous since most of those judges had retired after completing their terms.
Some meetings of the council have already been held to consider the complaints against few judges during the tenure of the incumbent chief justice but the media has been restrained from publishing and airing news items about the council’s proceedings without verification and confirmation from SJC secretariat. According to the Rule 13 of SJC, “Proceedings of the Council are not to be reported.”
Reporting SJC cases
However, Supreme Court Bar Association president Ali Zafar said that options should be given to accused judge that whether trial be held in camera or public.
Former additional attorney general Tariq Mahmood Khokhar said that it is essential that the proceedings of SJC should be opened for public for providing fair trial opportunity to the accused.
Another active lawyer Chaudhry Faisal Hussain said that prima facie Rule 13 of SJC is violating Article 19-A of the Constitution.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2016.