SJC accepts LHC judge’s plea for open trial

Five-judge council to take up case on January 3


Hasnaat Mailk January 02, 2019
Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan. PHOTO: SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has accepted a plea to conduct an open trial of a Lahore High Court (LHC) judge whose name appeared in the Panama Papers in 2016.

The five-judge SJC, led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, will conduct the trial of Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan on January 3 [tomorrow].

Additional Attorney General for Pakistan Chaudhry Amir Rehman being the prosecutor will present witnesses to substantiate the case against the judge. The witnesses will also be crossed examined on the same day.

The council has also asked the LHC judge to present his defence witnesses on January 8. Sources revealed to The Express Tribune that the council held an in-camera meeting on Monday (December 31). In that meeting, the LHC judge’s plea for open trial was accepted.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court PRO office sent a message to media that case of the LHC judge will be taken up in an open court at 3 O’clock. Later, it was conveyed to media that the meeting has been postponed.  Now, it is learnt that the case will be taken up on January 3.

SJC trial: IHC judge goes to apex court to request open trial

This will be the second time the SJC will conduct an open trial of a judge. Earlier in November, the council recommended to sack the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who had accused the prime intelligence agency of manipulating benches.

The council has already discharged a complaint against former IHC chief Justice Anwar Khan Kasi, who retired last month.

The SJC comprises three senior SC judges and chief justices of two high courts. Composition of the SJC has also changed after retirement of Justice Kasi and the Balochistan High Court chief justice.

Presently, the CJs of the Sindh High Court and Peshawar High Court are members of the council. It will be interesting to see whether the SJC will conclude the proceedings before the CJP’s retirement this month.

The SJC was activated in the tenure of former CJP Justice (retd) Anwar Zaheer Jamali as it shortlisted a few cases and issued show cause notices. In the last three years, the council issued show cause notices against three high court judges.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that 26 LHC judges did not attend the full court reference held on the retirement of LHC chief justice Anwarul Haq on Monday.

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