Top lawyers’ bodies, including the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), on Tuesday announced filing separate complaints of misconduct in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against a Supreme Court judge after audio leaks emerged purportedly featuring conversation about the fixation of case before a particular bench or judge with former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi.
The announcement was made by PBC Executive Committee Chairman Hasan Raza Pasha during a news conference which was also attended by the representatives of all superior bars, including provincial bar councils.
Pasha said all bar councils were on the same page over the issue, adding that the complaint will be lodged next week.
He also demanded of the government to withdraw the review appeal on the decision against the reference on Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, saying that it had “malicious” intent.
Pasha said that they had urged the top court to investigate the audio leaks. However, he added, they decided to file the complaint as they did not get any response from the apex court.
Read SCBA president terms ‘new audio leaks involving Elahi, SC’ doctored
He said that the resolution for the protection of lawyers was also approved whereas a motion to amend the SJC rules was also endorsed during the meeting.
The meeting also demanded that army officers and retired judges should not be offered any government post. It also urged to appoint senior judges in the Supreme Court.
Two separate audio clips were leaked on social media last week. In the first audio clip, a man believed to be Elahi can be heard telling “Joja sahab” that the SC judge should be appointed to hear the “Muhammad Khan case”.
Meanwhile, superior bars have increased their pressure for initiating misconduct proceedings in the SJC against the judge.
The Independent Lawyers Group representatives are taking a lead role on the issue. At one time, they were seen rescuing the same judge, when the SJC initiated misconduct proceeding against him on account of a judicial order.
On the other hand, the Professional Lawyers Group is totally silent. Two members of the group, who attended all lawyers regularity bodies, have supported the decision regarding filing of complaint against the SC judge.
Interestingly, both the lawyers groups strongly supported Justice Qazi Faez Isa, when the SJC initiated the proceeding of misconduct against him on the insistence of “powerful circles”.
Lawyers are divided as to whether the SJC can oust a judge on the basis of leaked audios. Several senior lawyers think that the contents of leaked audios would not be enough to oust a judge. They believe that this is a tactic to put pressure on one section of the judges who are giving relief to the PTI for the last couple of years.
Only the chief justice of Pakistan, being the SJC chairman, can initiate the misconduct proceeding against a judge.
In case, the CJP initiates the misconduct proceeding against the SC judge, then the composition of incumbent SJC will be crucial. Justice Isa and Justice Sardar Tariq Masood are also members of the council. Similarly, the chief justices of the Sindh High Court and the Lahore High Court are also members of the SJC.
It is also learnt that the SC’s written order regarding the restoration of the CCPO Lahore has yet to be issued.
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