ISLAMABAD: Advocate Hamid Khan submitted before the Supreme Court that Shaukat Siddiqui, was removed as a judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) as he had passed certain observations in the order against the top leadership of army in Faizabad dharna case.
A five-judge bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, heard Siddiqui’s petition against the SJC recommendations and the federal government notification for his removal on the basis of his speech made at the District Bar Association, Rawalpindi on July 31, 2018.
Hamid Khan, representing ex-judge of the IHC, argued that two references had already been filed against his client prior to his speech. He said that one reference was filed that he had spent more amount on the renovation of his official residence, while the other one was filed after the order passed on Faizabad dharna case on 27 November 2017.
He said Siddiqui in the order had passed certain observations against the top leadership of the armed forces because of the agreement signed with the leadership of Tehreek-e-Labaik. The counsel said the ex-judge wrote that the top army officers should not have been involved in political activities.
Hamid Khan said that though things were moving against Siddiqui on the complaints of Kulsoom Khaliq and Jamshaid Dasti but culminated after the 31st July 2018 speech and the third reference was filed and the judge was removed by the SJC.
“This show that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) was under the influence of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),” the counsel said. Upon that Justice Bandial said; “I am deeply aggrieved by such remarks.”
“Do not talk like this and accuse the state institutions. You are a senior counsel and when you start hitting the boundaries, it becomes unbearable.” “Criticize the judgment but don’t go beyond the judgment to accuse the institution and the judges. Neither I nor my PRO can make the statement. You have swept across the board. I am also the member of the Council,” added Justice Bandial.
Hamid Khan said he was talking about the members of the SJC at that relevant time. He said according to Article 209 of the Constitution an inquiry should have been conducted into the allegations levelled in the speech before deciding whether he should be removed or not.
He said if the Council decides that there was no need to proceed against the judge, against whom a complaint is filed, then there was no need of inquiry, but when it decides to proceed against the judge then inquiry under Article 209 should be held.
“If an example is set of removing a judge without holding an inquiry [into the allegations against them] then any judge could be dismissed on any basis at any time [in the future],” Khan said.
Justice Bandial told the counsel that Siddiqui had “transgressed the limits” in his speech at the Rawalpindi bar. “He was issued a show-cause notice for the speech; if he hadn’t delivered the speech, the notice would not have been served,” said Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan; meanwhile, said that a judge’s speech in the bar or at a public forum was supposed to be within “constraints and limits”.
“It does not befit a judge to start humiliating institutions or the government,” he said, noting that an SC judge could not comment on the country’s foreign policy.
Siddiqui’s counsel argued that former chief justice M R Kayani had made speeches against the martial law, and then-chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had also delivered speeches in different bar councils during the lawyers’ movement of 2007. “Justice M R Kayani had not maligned his own institution,” remarked Justice Sardar Tariq Masood.
Hamid Khan said that complaint was also filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa on the complaint that the judge had written letters to the president of Pakistan. He said the SJC did not further proceed on that matter and said it was not violation of the conduct. The case was adjourned until next week.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021