A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, which was hearing a case related to the unrest and the law and order situation in Karachi, directed London-based Hussain to appear in person before the court on January 07.
The bench directed the Foreign Ministry to send a copy of its notice to Hussain in London.
The MQM chief, who has lived in self-exile in London since 1992, frequently addresses public meetings and gatherings across Pakistan by telephone.
Despite being based in London, he continues to maintain a firm grip on the MQM, which is a key partner in Pakistan's ruling coalition.
The judges observed that Hussain had used language in a recent address to a gathering that came under the purview of the contempt of court law.
The bench contended that Hussain was interfering in the work of the apex court and spreading hatred against the court.
They contended that he had used contemptuous language against the judiciary.
The apex court also directed the official media regulator to submit a copy of Hussain's telephonic address to a gathering in Karachi.
During his telephonic address, Hussain had taken exception to the apex court's observations about the delimitation of parliamentary constituencies in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city and economic hub that is a stronghold of the MQM.
Hussain had described certain remarks by the judges as "unconstitutional" and "undemocratic" and claimed they amounted to contempt for the mandate given by the people of Karachi.
He had also said that constitutional action should be taken against the judges who made these remarks.
Islamabad: Pakistan's Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain to explain why action should not be taken against him under the contempt of court law for his recent remarks about the judiciary.
First Published: Friday, December 14, 2012, 16:38