ISLAMABAD -  Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali yesterday upheld the SC registrar’s objections and dismissed the plea seeking order to the Supreme Judicial Council to expeditiously dispose of complaints and references pending before it against the superior court judges.

The order said: “The prayer made by the petitioner under Article 184(3) of the Constitution violates the spirit of articles 209 and 211 of the Constitution, read with the Procedure of Enquiry, 2005.”

“It is one of the important aspects of the proceedings before the Supreme Judicial Council that at every stage of its proceedings, with the parameter under Rule 13 of Procedure of Enquiry and other provisions, complete confidentiality and secrecy is to be maintained about the action taken by the council while Article 19-A which itself provides for reasonable restrictions will have no overriding effect to it,” the order further said.

The chief justice, on September 29 after hearing the appeal in his chamber against the registrar office, had reserved the judgment.

Advocate Muhammad Raheel Kamran Sheikh, chairman, Human Rights Committee of Pakistan Bar Council, had filed a petition in the august court against the SJC under Article 184(3) of the Constitution in April 2016, seeking order that the references or complaints pending before it be decided expeditiously and the judges against whom there was prima facie case be restrained from performing judicial work.

The SC registrar office, however, had returned the petition and termed it frivolous. The counsel was directed to approach the appropriate forum.

Raheel contended before the CJP that he did not want disclosure of information of SJC proceedings against a judge of the apex court or a high court, but wanted to know how many references had been filed before the SJC since its establishment, how many references had been decided and how many were still pending.

The Supreme Judicial Council was established under Article 209 of the Constitution to probe allegations against the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts for either alleged misconduct or an inability to perform their duties for mental as well as physical incapacity. It comprises the chief justice of Pakistan, two senior-most judges of the apex court and two senior chief justices of the high courts.

Raheel stated in his petition that since its establishment the council had barely been functional. He stated the references and complaints must be fixed for hearing before the council within a week of their receipt. Those which were not worthy of being heard must be rejected outright while others must be decided within one month, said the petition.

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

It also said the independence of judiciary could be secured by ensuring that the process of appointment, removal and security of tenure of judges remained independent.