ISLAMABAD - Supreme Judicial Council on Saturday revealed that only 28 references and complaints against judges of superior courts are pending with it at different stages.

These 28 references and complaints also include the two Presidential References against Supreme Court’s Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Sindh High Court’s Justice KK Agha.

Supreme Court’s spokesperson office in a press statement also responded to the speculations of legal fraternity regarding dismissal of recent Presidential References against two superior court judges as an outcome of SJC’s June 14 preliminary proceedings wherein Attorney General for Pakistan appeared to assist the Council on maintainability.

“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,” the press statement stated.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the SJC has delivered the copy of reference, along with other documents, to the judge at his Islamabad residence on Friday night.

The council has also offered the apex court’s judge to present his case against the government’s complaint during the preliminary enquiry. However there is no official confirmation.

Rule 8(3) of the Supreme Judicial Council Procedure of Enquiry 2005 states that if the Council is of the view that before forming an opinion, it should also hear the judge under enquiry, it shall require the said judge to present himself before the Council. “The Council shall provide him the information and material received against him.”

On Friday, a five-member SJC comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa being chairman, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh and Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth, heard the references amid protests by the legal fraternity.

The number of references and complaints pending with SJC had been confidential and, in 2016, then Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali gave judgment on an application filed by senior lawyer Advocate Raheel Kamran Sheikh ruling the number of pending references and complaints cannot be disclosed.

“It is one of the important aspects of proceedings before the Supreme Judicial Council that at every stage of its proceedings, within the parameter of prescribed under Rule 13 (ibid) and other enabling provisions, complete confidentiality and secrecy is to be maintained about actions taken by the Council, and Article 19-A, which itself provides for reasonable restrictions, will have no over-riding effect to it,” then Chief Justice Jamali observed in his 2-page ruling.

The recent agitation of lawyers, after filing of government’s references, who misquoted the number of references and questioning the focus of SJC on only two references against Justice Isa and Justice Agha necessitated the disclosure of number of pending cases before SJC.

“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. The figures repeatedly quoted by various people are not only erroneous but also misleading and contrary to the facts,” stated the instant press statement.

It is further clarified that all the cases are in process and will be disposed of in due course of time.