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SJC reference filed against CJP, three SC judges

ISLAMABAD: On Monday, lawyer Sardar Salman Ahmad Dogar filed a reference with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against Pakistan’s Chief Justice and three other Supreme Court judges.

The complaint accused Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Munib Akhtar, and Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Naqvi of judicial misconduct. The complainant based his referral on an alleged violation of the SJC’s Code of Conduct for Judges of the Superior Judiciary, which was issued on September 2, 2009.

The complainant claimed that the four judges violated Code of Conduct Articles III, IV, V, VI, and IX. These pertain to keeping a judge’s conduct on all occasions, official and private, free of impropriety; enshrining the rule against bias and conflict of interest, whether direct or indirect; ensuring that justice is not only done but also seen to be done; cautioning against engaging in public controversy, least of all on a political question; and maintaining harmony.

According to the complainant, the CJP engaged in the “arbitrary elevation” of Supreme Court judges in violation of the seniority principle.

He proposed a different SJC composition to investigate this judicial reference because, according to him, no judge can sit on a bench hearing a reference against himself. The complainant has asked the president to remove the four judges from their positions following an investigation by the SJC.

The investigation should be conducted on the basis of alleged misconduct, as stated by the complainant. Because the Supreme Judicial Council is the only forum that can investigate the conduct of superior judiciary judges, its jurisdiction has been invoked in this case.

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