ISLAMABAD - The top court has been approached to direct the Supreme Judicial Council to decide references or complaints pending before it expeditiously and restraint the judges against whom prima facie there is case to proceed from performing judicial work.

Chairman Human Rights Committee of Pakistan Bar Council Mohammad Raheel Kamran Sheikh Saturday filed a petition against SJC under Article 184(3) of Constitution.

He stated the references or complaints must be fixed for hearing before the Council within a week of their receipt and those which are not worthy of proceeding further, must be rejected out-rightly while others must be decided within one month.

 The Supreme Judicial Council was established under Article 209 of Constitution to inquire into the allegation leveled against the judges of Supreme Court and the High Courts for either alleged misconduct, or an inability to perform their duties for reasons of mental or physical incapacity. Its Code of Conduct was duly prescribed and amended from time to time so that judges of superior judiciary operate at the highest moral and ethical standards and all the citizens have access to justice from independent and impartial courts.

The petitioner regretted that since its establishment the Council has barely been functional.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali in his new judicial year speech last year had said that the references pending in SJC would be disposed of expeditiously. The CJP addressing the Islamabad Bar Council on 30-11-2015 observed that 90 per cent of complaints filed against superior judiciary judges had become outdated because the Council has been inactive for the past few years and that the vast majority of references had become infructuous as most these judges had retired after completing their terms.

Raheel stated that the basic information regarding total number of references under Article 209 and status of those references and complaints has not been disclosed. He has said every citizen has a fundamental right to have access to information in all matter of public importance, as guaranteed in Article 19A of Constitution.

“It may be in the public interest to withhold information about the nature of any particular complaint to avoid scandalising of a judge for as long as he serves on the bench.” However, there is no justification for withholding information regarding the total number of complaints received by the SJC,” he contended.

He said that after a tumultuous period of military rule, and attempts made to stifle the authority of the superior judiciary, the country has in recent memory emerged united and committed in ensuring a new era in the history of our nation.

The independence of judiciary could be secured by ensuring the process of appointment, removal, and security of tenure of judges remains independent of the executive and legislature.

 The decision by the judges without fear or favour is a sine qua non for independence of the judiciary. A judge against whom a reference or complaint under Article 209 of the Constitution has been filed can be amenable to pressures and exploitations, therefore, he can readily compromise his integrity, impartiality and independence. Therefore the complaint, if any against a judge, should be decided expeditiously.