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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday overruled the registrar’s office objection to an appeal filed by former judge of the Islamabad High Court Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui against the Oct 11, 2018, notification of his removal as a judge.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, who took up the appeal in his chambers against the registrar office’s returning of the appeal, ordered fixing of the case before a bench of the apex court.

Ex-judge Siddiqui was removed from the high judicial office on the recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) under Article 209 of the Constitution for displaying conduct unbecoming of a judge by delivering a speech on July 21, 2018, at the District Bar Association, Rawalpindi, thus guilty of misconduct.

Against the notification of his removal as a high court judge, he challenged the decision which was returned by the registrar office against which he again filed an appeal on Oct 26, 2018, which was taken up by Justice Saeed in his chambers on Thursday.

In his appeal, the former judge contended that the matter in hand was of great public importance since important questions in relation to the independence of judiciary, rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution have been raised, requiring an earlier adjudication of the matter by the apex court.

Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC was removed for misconduct on SJC’s recommendation

The ex-judge contended that since a number of his legal and constitutional rights were involved in the matter, an early fixing of the appeal should be considered in the interest of justice.

In his earlier appeal which he moved before the court on Oct 26, Shaukat Siddiqui had pleaded to be restored as a permanent judge of the high court after setting aside the Oct 11, 2018, notification under which he was removed.

In his 30-page appeal, the former judge with a seven-year judicial experience explained the context in which he was compelled to address the Rawalpindi District Bar Association in which he made remarks against the involvement of certain officers of the executive organ of the state, specifically the Inter-Services Intelligence, in the affairs of the judiciary and to allegedly manipulate the formation of the benches of the high court.

“The remarks made by the petitioner were an honest attempt demanded by his conscience to counter the challenges posed to the independence of the judiciary,” the ex-judge argued in his appeal.

The petition contended that the SJC considered the letter of the chief justice of the high court as gospel truth against him despite the fact that it was not an affidavit and that two days after the chief justice was exonerated from all the references he was facing.

It was obligatory upon the SJC to inquire into the allegations levelled by him in the interest of justice in a trial conducted properly to uphold the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, which was the basic feature of the Constitution, the petition argued.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019