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Monday June 17, 2024

Justice Siddiqui challenges SJC order in SC

By Our Correspondent
August 18, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday appealed to the Supreme Court to set aside the order passed by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), dismissing his two applications, seeking provision of certain documents of expenditures incurred on residences of judges of the superior judiciary. Justice Siddiqui filed the petition in the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution making the Federation of Pakistan through Law and Justice secretary and Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) Secretary as respondents Justice Siddiqui, who had been alleged for spending Rs80 million on the renovation of his official residence as judge of the Islamabad High Court had sought record of other judges of the superior courts just to compare the volume of expenditures with him. Ali Anwar Gopang, former employee of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), had filed a complaint before the Supreme Judicial Council against Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, alleging the judge for misusing funds for the refurbishment of his official residence.

The SJC, which is hearing the instant complaint against Justice Siddiqui, is expected to resume the instant hearing in the first week of September.

Justice Siddiqui, however, on Friday challenged the order passed by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on July 30, 2018, dismissing his two applications, requesting for provision of certain documents/information. He prayed to the apex court to issue direction to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for summoning the requisite information and documents of last seven years expenditures incurred on residences of judges of the superior judiciary.

Justice Siddiqui further prayed to the apex court to suspend the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council till the decision on his petition.

On July 30, a five-member bench of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing the complaint against the IHC judge, Justice Siddiqui, had rejected his two applications with the ruling that there was no need of calling the said record adding name of a particular judge was not mentioned in the application.

Justice Siddiqui had sought details pertaining to total expenditure incurred on the maintenance of each official accommodations in occupation of judges of the Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court and all the high courts in the last seven years, expenses incurred on the houses owned by judges but declared official accommodations

Similarly, Justice Siddiqui had also sought record pertaining to details of inquiries and criminal proceedings initiated against Ali Anwar Gopang, ex-employee of the CDA and status of inquiry about illegal appointments made by him and about his son Kashif Anwar Gopang, besides seeking list of all relatives of Ali Anwar Gopang working in the CDA as well as details of judicial proceedings, including contempt of court against Ali Anwar Gopang.

He submitted that it is most essential feature of fair and safe administration of justice that an accused (the petitioner) is provided with full and fair opportunity to prepare his defence and disprove the case against him. He contended that the record sought through the aforesaid application filed by him before the Supreme Judicial Council is highly necessary and relevant for the preparation of the defence of the petitioner to disprove certain facts.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui submitted that the basic allegations against him are the incurring of expenditure on the renovation of an official residence and for the determination of this fact, and whether it amounts to misconduct within the meaning of the code of conduct provided under Article 209 of the Constitution which is binding on all judges.

“It is only fair that that the petitioner is treated equally along with other learned judges of the Supreme Court and high courts in this respect,” Justice Siddiqui contended adding that the record is available with the Capital Development Authority, AGPR and the same can be requisitioned on few hour notice; thus, the impugned order having been passed on irrelevant grounds is liable to be set aside.

The petitioner further submitted that the Supreme Judicial Council acted against all norms of justice and in sheer haste and dismissed those applications without even looking at them

He requested the court to set aside the impugned order and a direction may be issued to the Supreme Judicial Council to summon the requisite record besides praying to suspend the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council till the decision of his petition.