Home Opinion Op-Ed Only 28 references pending before SJC: Supreme Court

Only 28 references pending before SJC: Supreme Court

“Since the last few days, discussions on electronic and print media convey an impression that around 350 references are pending with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC),” the statement said, “The figures repeatedly quoted by various people are not only erroneous but also misleading and contrary to the facts.”

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Supreme Court spokesman clarified on Saturday that only 28 cases, including the two presidential references against the superior court judges, were pending before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and the figure of 350 pending references was “misleading and contrary to the facts”.

According to a press release issued by the apex court, the figures of pending cases before the SJC being quoted by various people in the media was incorrect and misleading.

The SJC – a constitutional body tasked with scrutinizing the conduct of superior court judges – is the only forum for initiating action against judges over misconduct.

“Since the last few days, discussions on electronic and print media convey an impression that around 350 references are pending with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC),” the statement said, “The figures repeatedly quoted by various people are not only erroneous but also misleading and contrary to the facts.”

In the statement, the Supreme Court’s spokesperson stated that “It is hereby clarified that 426 complaints/references had been received in the Supreme Judicial Council. All of them were processed and after going through various stages of process as per “The Supreme Judicial Council Procedure of Enquiry 2005”, 398 cases have been disposed of and only 28 cases, including the two Presidential References, are pending before it.” He further clarified that all the cases were in process and will be decided in due course of time.

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Clarification after lawyers’ protest against filing of references against judges

The clarification has come a day after a legion of lawyers staged a protest outside the Supreme Court and burned copies of references filed against the apex court judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Sindh High Court judge Justice KK Agha over non-disclosure of foreign properties in their wealth statements.

Still, mystery surrounds the closed-door proceedings of the SJC held on Friday to commence a preliminary hearing of presidential references against the two superior court judges as no official handout was released about the proceedings. The five-member SJC held the proceedings from 2pm to 3.30pm on June 14.

The figures of pending cases before the SJC being quoted by various people in the media was incorrect and misleading.

Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan remained tight-lipped and did not offer any comment after the conclusion of the SJC session. Despite facing a volley of questions by chasing journalists, AG Mansoor, who appeared before SJC as a prosecutor, did not utter a single word. The media reported that his body language, however, indicated that everything had not gone off well during the proceedings.

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Composition of CJP Khosa-led Supreme Judicial Council

The SJC – a constitutional body tasked with scrutinizing the conduct of superior court judges – is the only forum for initiating action against judges over misconduct. It consists of five top judges. Composition of the SJC is very important in this matter.

Interestingly, three SC judges who are members of SJC were part of the larger bench which had disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on account of non-disclosure of foreign assets in his nomination papers.

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Currently, CJP Khosa, who is retiring in December, is the chairman of the council. Other members are: Justice Gulzar Ahmad, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Chief Justice Sindh High Court Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh and Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth.

Legal experts say the addition of Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed as SJC member is significant as “he is going to retire in August”. Justice Gulzar is said to be the future chief justice of Pakistan.

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