IHC judge seeks stay in SJC proceedings

Pleads for an open trial against him

Hasnaat Mailk March 06, 2018

ISLAMABAD: An Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge has sought stay in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) proceedings against him till the final decision on his constitutional petition, wherein he seeks an open trial.

The SJC issued another show-cause notice to IHC Judge Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui for questioning the role of the ‘constitutional institution’ in the matter related to the Faizabad sit-in last year.

Last month, the SJC had issued a show-cause notice to the IHC judge over two different complaints, filed by MNA Jamshed Ahmad Dasti and Kulsum Khaliq, alleging that the judge had given unwarranted comments against army officials for playing their role in resolution of the Faizabad sit-in.

The IHC judge in an order issued on November 27, 2017, had questioned the role of Pakistan Army officials in striking an agreement between federal government and protesters (Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah).

“Prima facie, role assumed by the top leadership of army is besides the Constitution and law of land. Armed forces, being part of the executive of the country, cannot travel beyond its mandate bestowed upon it by the organic law of the country - Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” Justice Siddiqui observed in the November 27 order and directed the government to satisfy the court about the constitutional role of the armed forces.

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The SJC, while entertaining their complaints, issued show-cause notice to the judge to file a reply on March 7.

As the council is going to take up this matter tomorrow (March 7), Justice Siddiqui on Monday moved an application, requesting the council that till the final decision of his constitutional petition by the apex court , the proceedings against him in this matter be stayed.

“I have already being implicated/engaged in an inquiry in complaint No 242/2015/SJC titled as ‘Ali Anwar Gopang vs Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’. Besides number of factual and legal objections raised most important is that organic law of the country - Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (hereinafter called as Constitution) - renounces secrecy and ‘in-camera’ inquiry/trial, which by its nature cannot be fair. I am of the firm belief that ‘fair trial’ and ‘due process’ as envisaged in Article 10-A of the Constitution demands openness, transparency and public hearing, due to this very fact, I demanded open trial by moving an application CMA No 13 of 2017 but same was declined vide order dated 18.2.2017. Feeling aggrieved I invoked the original jurisdiction of the Honourable Supreme Court (hereinafter called as SC) by way of filing constitution petition No 29/2017 under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, titled as Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui vs Federation of Pakistan  and another,” reads the application.

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The IHC judge submitted that he also questioned the constitutionality and legality of the Procedure of Inquiry 2005 larger bench consisting of five judges of SC hearing the matter

Later, the five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmad, is hearing his petition seeking open trial in an earlier case. Two amicus curiae have been appointed in this matter.

The IHC judge in his application believed that the CJP, who is chairman SJC  was not in the notice of the larger bench, therefore, show-cause notice dated 22.2.2018 has been issued.

“I find myself fully justified in expecting that on the principle of caution and propriety and in respect to pendency of important constitutional questions before the SC, fresh proceedings could not be commenced. Matter before honourable SC already ripened for final arguments,” stated the application.

It was therefore, he requested that till the final decision of CP No 29/2017 proceedings in pursuance to SCN dated 22.2.2018 may very kindly be stayed and seeking reply of SCN (show-cause notice) may also be deferred.