SC adjourns ex-judge Shaukat Siddiqui’s petition till Friday

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing on the appeal of former Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui till Friday.

A five-member larger SC bench, comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah heard the case seeking setting aside of report/opinion of the Supreme Judicial Council and notification Issued by the Ministry of Law dated 11.10.2018.

During the course of proceedings, Additional Attorney General Sohail Mahmood said the Federal Government wanted to submit its response to Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s position. The government had denied the allegations made by Siddiqui against some officers as the same were fabricated, baseless and misleading, he added.

Advocate Hamid Khan, counsel for Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, said he tried to submit a reply containing an affidavit to clarify his client’s position but the Registrar’s Office objected and returned additional documents.

Justice Bandial asked Hamid Khan to complete his arguments regarding maintainability of the petition. He asked how he linked his arguments to Article 211.

He asked the counsel to also complete arguments on his position on making an inquiry mandatory before removing a judge. Despite three hearings, arguments were still being heard as to whether the petition was admissible, he added.

Justice Bandial said there was no guarantee that all five judges would be in Islamabad during the holidays.

Hamid Khan said the reference could not be decided without inquiry. Just a speech was not an issue, he added.

He said he had requested an open inquiry during the first hearing.

Justice Bandial asked whether the Council could conduct an open inquiry.

Hamid Khan said he was assured of an open inquiry prior to the proceedings. He had earlier appeared in an open inquiry in the case.

Justice Ijaz said the Council did not consider the open inquiry appropriate on the basis of acknowledging facts.

Hamid Khan said if the word “inquiry” was included in the Constitution, then inquiry could not be ignored. A judge had no forum other than the Supreme Judicial Council, he added.

He said the Council had stated that he could not prove his allegations. How he could prove his allegations without inquiry, he asked.

Justice Bandial observed that Shaukat Siddiqui showed irresponsibility and did not understand his position. According to the Code of Conduct, he (Siddiqui) had to defend the judiciary, he added.