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October 7, 2017

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Justice Shaukat challenges SJC’s rejection of open trial in SC

ISLAMABAD: Facing the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) proceedings for alleged misconduct, Islambad High Court (IHC) judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui has challenged the decision of SJC. The SJC had  refused Siddiqui’s plea to have an open trial instead of in-camera proceedings.

Petitioner Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, with the help of Makhdoom Ali Khan, Advocate, and Hamid Khan, Advocate, has filed a constitutional petition in the apex court under Article 184 (3), making the SJC and the Federation respondents. In his petition, the judge has requested that he should have an open trial instead of in camera trial.

The petitioner had made the same request to the Supreme Judicial Council but that was rejected on May 18th. When former president of Supreme Court Bar Association, Asma Jhangir, was asked to give her views about this matter, she said that even though there was no room for open trial of any  judge inthe  SJC, but Justice Shaukat was still pleading for an open trial. What’s wrong with an open trial in SJC particularly if the petitioner is asking for it? Asma asked saying that was the reason for her advocacy of the petitioner's  request.

On the other hand, Hafiz S A Rahman Advocate said that in the past all the proceedings of the SJC were held behind closed doors. He said  historically there never has been an open trial.  However, he emphasised that the petitioner had taken the services of some of the best lawyers of the country and after analysing all aspects of this situation the lawyers have advised to use Article 184 (3). Barrister Gohar Ali Khan was also of the opinion that there was no mention of open trial in the rules and regulations of Supreme Judicial Council.

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