–Siddique alleges his removal was ‘preconceived plan of CJP’ to prevent him from becoming CJ of high court
—Claims SJC order ‘suffered from various illegalities, malafides’, urges SC to restore him as IHC judge
ISLAMABAD: Former Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on Friday challenged his termination as a high court judge in the Supreme Court.
President Arif Alvi had removed Siddiqui on the Supreme Judicial Council’s (SJC) recommendation on October 11. The SJC had unanimously found the IHC judge “guilty of misconduct” over an anti-ISI speech that he had delivered before the Rawalpindi District Bar Association on July 21.
“Siddiqui, an IHC judge, displayed a conduct unbecoming of a high court judge,” SJC said.
Justice Siddiqui, in his constitutional petition, contended that he was terminated without due process and that his ouster was done without [the SJC] fulfilling legal prerequisites. Siddiqui also raised a number of questions on the legality of the actions taken against him, saying he wanted to highlight additional grounds in support of his petition at the time of its hearing at the apex court.
He filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan, claiming that “he was discriminately sacked on account of making a public speech”.
He also alleged that the SJC order “suffered from various illegalities and malafides” and prayed to the apex court to set aside the notification and restore his position as IHC judge.
The former IHC judge also claimed that SJC members were biased against him, saying that his removal “in an illegal manner was part of [a] preconceived plan of the worthy chairman of the SJC who intended to deprive the petitioner judge [Siddiqui] from becoming the chief justice of [the] Islamabad High Court.”
Siddiqui pleaded the apex court to withdraw the notification of his removal and restore him as IHC judge.
The decision was taken by five members of the SJC led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar. Other judges on the panel included: Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmad, Lahore High Court’s Chief Justice Yawar Ali and Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Sheikh.
On Oct 11, a letter written by the SJC had emerged, in which the council comprising five Supreme Court judges, had said that it found Justice Siddiqui guilty of misconduct. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa wrote in the 39-page report that Justice Siddiqui did not even spare the SC when he remarked that he knew who sent messages to the apex court and who delivered them.
The report further stated that “such reckless and irresponsible conduct of a high court judge was not countenanced by any standard of judicial propriety and the Code of Conduct in this country is no exception in that regard”.
Earlier, on July 20, the former IHC judge had made serious allegations against security agency’s personnel claiming that they were “manipulating judicial proceedings”.
On July 31, the SJC had issued a show-cause notice to Justice Siddiqui on the reference of his speech and was directed to submit a reply by August 28.
The SJC took up the matter after considering that such comments prima facie had the tendency of undermining the respect otherwise due to such constitutional institutions.