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Justice Shaukat Siddiqui removed as Islamabad High Court judge

Updated October 11, 2018

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In this file photo, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui addresses the Rawalpindi District Bar Association. — DawnNewsTV
In this file photo, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui addresses the Rawalpindi District Bar Association. — DawnNewsTV

President Arif Alvi has removed Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui as a judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), a notification issued by the law ministry said on Thursday.

The president took the decision after the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) recommended his removal, the statement added.

A letter written by the SJC had emerged earlier in the day, in which the council, comprising five Supreme Court judges, had said it found Justice Siddiqui guilty of misconduct over a speech he delivered in July earlier this year before the Rawalpindi District Bar Association.

"The council is unanimously of the opinion that in the matter of making his speech before the District Bar Association, Rawalpindi on [July 21] Mr. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui [...] had displayed conduct unbecoming of a judge of a high court and was, thus, guilty of misconduct and he is, therefore, liable to be removed from his office under Article 209(6) of the Constitution," the communication read.

The SJC is a constitutional forum that examines the conduct of superior court judges and then recommends their removal from the top post.

While addressing an audience at the Rawalpindi bar, Justice Siddiqui had claimed that personnel of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were manipulating judicial proceedings.

He had further claimed that the spy agency had approached IHC Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and said: "'We do not want to let Nawaz Sharif and his daughter come out [of the prison] until elections, do not include Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on the bench [hearing Sharifs' appeals]'."

Justice Siddiqui had offered no evidence to support the claims he made.

The IHC judge was facing a reference over his controversial speech, the third reference filed against him.

Decision 'not unexpected': Justice Siddiqui

In a statement issued in response to the SJC's recommendation of his removal, Justice Siddiqui said the decision was "not unexpected" for him.

"When nothing came out of a baseless reference started in the name of alleged refurbishment of [my] official residence about three years ago despite full effort, my address to a bar association, every word of which was based on truth, was used as the justification [to dismiss me]," he said.

"This reference was not heard in open court despite my demand and clear verdict of the Supreme Court, and neither was a commission formed to examine the facts described in my speech.

"I am completely satisfied with the requisites of my conscience, my nation and my rank," he wrote.

Justice Siddiqui said he will present his detailed stance before the public "very soon".

"[I] will also reveal the facts which I had presented before the Supreme Judicial Council in my written statement and state the actual reasons behind the dismissal of a high court judge in this manner after nearly half a century."

References against Justice Siddiqui

On July 31, the SJC had issued a show-cause notice to Justice Siddiqui on the reference for making unnecessary and unwarranted comments at the Rawalpindi District Bar Association by accusing the establishment of manipulating the judicial proceedings.

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.

The council did not consider another request of Justice Siddiqui to hold the proceedings of this reference in the open court.

The judge had been alrea­dy facing a reference on misconduct earlier moved on the complaint by some retired employees of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for alleged refurbishment of his official residence beyond entitlement.

Likewise, a similar show-cause notice was issued to Justice Siddiqui under Article 209 (5)(6) of the Constitution by the SJC on a reference moved by Advocate Kulsum Khaliq on behalf of former member of the National Asse­mbly Jamsh­ed Ahmed Dasti alleging that the high court judge had, during one of the hearings on a case relating to the 20-day Faizabad sit-in, objected to a compromise between the federal government and the protesting Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah. The compromise was facilitated by the armed forces.

After scrutinising the reference, a meeting of the SJC held on Feb 6 had observed that the judge was guilty of misconduct and should be issued a show-cause notice in this regard.