ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday admitted petition filed by the former senior judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui for hearing.
A senior judge of the apex court Shaikh Azmat Saeed during an in-chamber hearing admitted his petition for hearing.
Justice Siddiqui was stripped of his judicial powers last year in October by President Arif Alvi on the recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Commission (SJC) on charges of misconduct.
A speech delivered by the judge in July 2018 in a meeting of the Rawalpindi district bar association was the major cause of his sacking in which he had criticised the military establishment (ISI) for interfering into judiciary’s matters.
Interestingly, neither the ISI nor the Army’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) lodged a formal complaint against the judge or the content of his speech.
Siddiqui was seen as the most vocal judge of high court and had kept raising issues of public interest during the usual hearing of the cases.
He had on a number of occasions alleged that ‘external hands’ were active in constituting benches in high profile cases and some senior military officers were influencing the courts.
He even did not spare his own bosses and in the said speech spoke against the then Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court Anwar Khan Kasi for cowing into the pressure. On another occasion, during a hearing, he publicly appealed to the former Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar for not humiliating judges.
His removal from the office however was based on the address he delivered in the Pindi bar association meeting.
Justice Siddiqui had challenged his removal in the Supreme Court, but his petition was returned with objections from the registrar’s office. He challenged the Registrar’s objections in the Supreme Court again and the apex court on Thursday admitted it for hearing.
One of the objections raised by the SC registrar was that he was invoking extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution for the redressal of an individual grievance. According to the SC Registrar that was not permissible in terms of judgement reported as 1998 SCMR 793 titled as Zulfiqar Mehdi Vs PIA etc.
However, in his petition against Registrar Office’s objections, Siddiqui submitted his case was of common welfare” and that the Supreme Court had ruled in such cases under Section 3 of the Article 184.
Justice Siddiqui’s own bar Rawalpindi Bar and the High Court Bar where he served as judge had not raised any voice in his support but interestingly lawyers of Karachi had rallied behind him denouncing his ‘unceremonious exit’ from judicial office by President Arif Alvi on the recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Commission (SJC).
SJC is a forum comprising of members of the superior judiciary with Chief Justice of Pakistan as chairman of the forum entrusted with accountability of the judges of High and Supreme Courts.