The Supreme Judicial Council, which hears complaints of misconduct against superior court judges, on Saturday made history by deciding to conduct trial of a sitting judge in open court for the first time.
The chief justice of Pakistan-led SJC accepted Islamabad High Court judge Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s plea to conduct inquiry regarding his misconduct in open court. Speculation states that SJC will start recording evidence in the case on July 30. The complaint against the IHC judge has been pending since 2015 in which several charges were framed against him. The federal government hired Advocate Maulvi Anwarul Haq to represent him.
On February 21, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar announced that all complaints against superior courts judges in the SJC will be decided by June. However, several complaints still remain undecided.
On May 10, the SJC suspended proceedings, after the IHC judge urged the apex court to hold an open trial. The top court’s larger bench, headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat, has already remanded the matter of holding in-camera trials for judges to the SJC for reconsideration.
It is learnt that in complaince of SC’s judgment, the council has decided to conduct open trial of IHC judge. Hamid Khan is appearing on his behalf. In February, the SJC served another show-cause notice on Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui for questioning the role of the ‘constitutional institution’ in the matter relating to the Faizabad sit-in last year.
Later, the judge submitted a reply in this regard but the council had rejected it.
Justice Siddiqui is facing a reference on misconduct moved on the complaint by a retired employee of the Capital Development Authority for alleged refurbishment of official residence beyond entitlement.
On Feb 22, SJC had issued a show cause notice to Justice Siddiqui on another reference against him for making unnecessary and unwarranted comments about some “important constitutional institution saying such comments prima facie had the tendency of undermining the respect otherwise such constitutional institution enjoys”.