Monday March 04, 2024

IHC’s ex-judge has to prove his speech wasn’t misconduct: SC

December 15, 2021
IHC’s ex-judge has to prove his speech wasn’t misconduct: SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday observed that former judge of the Islamabad High Court Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui has an opportunity to prove that whatever he said in his speech was not a misconduct.

A five-member larger bench, headed by Justice Umer Ata Bandial, heard the petition filed by IHC's sacked judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, challenging the notification of the president of Pakistan terminating his service.

Petitioner Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, while expressing full confidence over the bench, submitted that he did not even think that any of the member of the bench was biased. "Even if my petition is dismissed, I will not blame the judiciary,” the petitioner submitted.

Justice Umer Ata Bandial observed that the appellant had wasted two opportunities in the council, leveled allegations but did not provide the material in this regard. Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that the allegations of the petitioner were ambiguous, adding that who met with whom and when, no proof was provided in this regard.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, while addressing Hamid Khan, counsel for the petitioner, observed that according to him, the whole Supreme Judicial Council was partial and the former references against his client were made on a mala fide basis.

"The initial reference was heard by the council and I was one of the members, and if the whole council was partial, then it is not appropriate for me to sit on this bench,” Justice Sajjad Ali Shah remarked.

Hamid Khan, however, contended that if one part of the council was partial, then the allegation falls on the whole body, adding that the written objection was on two judges. At this, Justice Umer Ata Bandial asked the counsel to argue on facts instead of leveling serious allegations.

"The Supreme Judicial Council gave opportunity twice to your client to prove the allegations while the court still has given an opportunity to prove the allegations he had levelled in his speech,” Justice Bandial told Hamid Khan.

The judge further asked the counsel to prove that whatever the petitioner had said in his speech does not fall under misconduct, adding that the counsel should also assist the court as to what was misconduct.

Hamid Khan contended that the stances of former chief justice Islamabad High Court Justice Anwar Kassi and Shaukat Siddiqui were before the Supreme Judicial Council, hence an inquiry was necessary to be conducted to prove which stance was correct. However, no inquiry was launched. Justice Bandial observed that maybe the council was expecting from his client for producing material in favour of his allegations but no material was placed before the council.

“Still the bar of Article 211 is there and the mala fide of the council is yet to prove,” Justice Bandial remarked. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till January 2022.