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ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) of the Rawalpindi division on Friday urged the chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar and other members of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to ensure fair trial to Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

LHCBA Rawalpindi division President Hassan Raza Pasha and Secretary Hifsa Bukhari while addressing a gathering of representatives of district bar associations urged the CJ that fair trial was a fundamental right of Justice Siddiqui and the lawyer leaders supported the demand of learned judge that his trial must be conducted in open court.

Earlier this week, Sindh Bar Council demanded a fair trial be provided to Justice Siddiqui by conducting the proceedings of a reference against him in an open court.

SJC served a notice to Justice Siddiqui on June 29 shortly after his remarks against CJ Nisar and fixed his pending reference for July 7 (today). As per the SJC’s notice, the proceedings will be conducted in-camera.

Justice Siddiqui criticised the CJ for allegedly passing personal or derogatory comments against judges of other courts, saying that all judges “are equally respectable”.

The IHC judge said the CJ has all the powers to set aside, modify or uphold the verdicts of other judges, but he does not have the right to humiliate them.

If judges reciprocate the CJ remarks, it will be damaging to the judicial institution, Justice Siddiqui added.

The IHC judge has filed a petition before the apex court against in-camera trial in the SJC.

SJC is proceeding against Justice Siddiqui on a complaint moved by a retired employee of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), who alleged the judge had refurbished his official residence beyond entitlement.

The Supreme Court in May this year has remanded the matter of holding in-camera trials of the IHC judge to the SJC for reconsideration.

While disposing of the petition, the five-judge SC bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed ruled that the request for open trial needs to be revisited and decided afresh by the SJC.

Published in Dawn, July 07th, 2018