IHC judge’s request for documents declined

Justice Siddiqui sought papers showing expenditure on residences of superior judges


Hasnaat Malik/Hasnaat Malik August 27, 2018
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui. PHOTO: IHC

The Supreme Court’s registrar office refused on Monday to entertain a constitutional petition filed by an Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge seeking documents of expenditure incurred on residences of other superior court judges.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had filed a petition after both of his applications were turned down by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).

These applications had sought directions to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for providing relevant record to prepare his defence in charges levelled against him.

He had also requested the apex court to suspend the council’s proceedings till a decision was rendered on that petition.

However, the SC’s registrar office returned the IHC judge’s petition by raising two objections. The office contended that the petitioner (the IHC judge) had not approached other appropriate forum available to him for relief. Similarly, he did not provide any justification for not doing so.

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The registrar’s office also objected that certificate provided with this constitutional petition did not fulfill requirements of Order XXV Rule 6 of the Supreme Court Rules of 1980.

It is learnt that the IHC judge will challenge these objections on Tuesday (today).

Meanwhile, Justice Siddqui submitted his final reply over the third show-cause notice served on him by the SJC over his July 21 speech at the Rawalpindi District Bar Association, in which he alleged that judicial proceedings were being manipulated by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), sources told The Express Tribune.

Sources said that the IHC judge submitted a 15-page-long reply on Monday, which might again stir up new controversies.

The council will also examine the reply on Tuesday (today) before passing an appropriate order.

In his 13-page-long preliminary reply, Justice Siddiqui had submitted that the SJC was not an appropriate forum for taking up this matter as facts needed to be probed.

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Citing a precedent set by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad CHaudhry, he insisted that his speech was directed at the legal fraternity for ensuring the judiciary’s independence.

The IHC judge also called for the withdrawal of the show-cause notice besides calling for the formation of a commission to probe the matter.

The judge already wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, asking him to form a commission led by a serving or retired Supreme Court judge, who did not take oath under (Musharraf’s) PCO (Provisional Constitutional Order).”

It is learnt that Justice Siddiqui had cited precedents from foreign jurisdictions such as India where no departmental inquiry was initiated against judges who addressed a press conference on the alleged discrimination in the constitution of benches.

He contended that his speech should not be construed as misconduct until it was proved that he had lied before the bar.

In his latest reply, it is learnt that the judge’s reply was based on facts.

Earlier, the IHC’s chief justice, while giving comments on July 29, had ‘categorically denied’ all allegations leveled by Justice Siddiqui.

According to the show-cause notice, the council noted that Justice Siddiqui’s speech had leveled ‘serious allegations’ against the superior judiciary and a ‘state institution’

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The show-cause notice categorised the IHC judge’s allegations into six parts:

(1) The ISI was involved in the manipulation of judicial proceedings, including assigning cases to the benches.

(2) ISI personnel approached the IHC chief justice and asked him not to free Sharif and his daughter from prison before the general election and “not to include your lordship in the bench” and the chief justice IHC had responded that the bench would be formed in accordance with their wishes.

(3) Your lordship (Justice Siddiqui) claimed to even have knowledge of the person who conveys messages to the Supreme Court.

(4) Daily proceedings of the accountability court were being reported somewhere and that your lordship also knows the reason why the administrative control of the Islamabad High Court as per statute was removed so that no judge could look into the proceedings.

(5) Your lordship was asked to give assurance that your lordship would give decision as per their request and then reference pending against your lordship would be closed.

(6) If your lordship decided cases according to their desire, it would be made chief justice of Islamabad High Court by September.

“Above act on your part amounts to misconduct as envisaged in the provisions inter alia of Articles II, III, V & IX of the Code of Conduct prescribed by the Supreme Judicial Council,” says the show cause notice.

The IHC judge has been asked to explain his conduct regarding his allegations which “prima facie constitute misconduct on your part within the meaning of paragraph (b) of Clauses (5) and (6) of Article 209 of the Constitution. The complaint has been numbered 347 SJC of 2018.

The show-cause stated that if the IHC judge did not reply, the council “shall proceed further with the inquiry as deemed appropriate”.

The council will consider his reply on August 28 (today).

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