A Lahore High Court (LHC) judge has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking an open trial of the reference being heard against him by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), a constitutional body tasked with scrutinising conduct of superior court judges.

Justice Khan was named in the Panama Papers leaks in 2016 for owning an offshore company.

After the revelation, the Lahore High Court Bar Association had announced its support for a boycott of the judge, until he got his name cleared of the charges.

Justice Mohammad Farrukh Irfan Khan filed a constitutional petition on Thursday for an open trial of the reference against him on an allegation of professional misconduct.

The application filed by Advocate Hamid Khan on behalf of the judge names the federation and SJC as respondents.

The judge has urged the apex court to declare SJC Procedure of Inquiry 2005 unconstitutional. He asked the court to halt proceedings of the reference before SJC until the court decides his petition.

The council cannot act on an application which apparently does not include documents and evidence, he maintained in the petition.

The development comes just days after a five-judge SC bench took up a petition filed by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Justice Siddiqui, too, is seeking open trial by the SJC hearing a reference against him on misconduct.

He has questioned paragraph 13 of SJC Procedure of Inquiry 2005 which deals with in-camera proceedings by saying that the section is in violation of Articles 4, 10A, 18 and 25 of the Constitution because it does not allow trial before the council to take place in accordance with the law.

The reference against the IHC judge was instituted on the complaint by a retired employee of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on the charge of refurbishment of his official residence beyond entitlement.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court wondered why judges should be treated as sacred cows, and appointed two amici curiae (friends of the court) to assist it in deciding Justice Siddiqui's case.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has stayed the proceedings of the council in view of Justice Siddiqui's pending case before the five-judge bench.

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