ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will resume on Tuesday (today) the hearing of an appeal instituted by Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, a former outspoken judge of the Islamabad High Court, against his removal from office.

The hearing was scheduled for Monday before a five-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, but the case could not be taken up because one member was not available.

The Supreme Court has, however, reissued a fresh cause list suggesting that hearings on the appeal by Shaukat Aziz, as well as two related petitions filed by the Karachi Bar Association and the Islamabad Bar Association, will resume on Tuesday.

The petitions filed by the two bar associations have called for setting aside the opinion of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and the Oct 11, 2018, notification under which he was removed.

The case was fixed for June 7 after the former judge moved a fresh application on May 31 for the hearing of his appeal. The case was adjourned indefinitely after a preliminary hearing on June 2.

The single-page application submitted by Justice Siddiqui had pleaded that the matter was of public importance and required speedy adjudication by the court.

On Wednesday, a five-judge Supreme Court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, had postponed further proceedings without announcing the next date. Senior counsel Hamid Khan is pleading Shaukat Siddiqui’s case.

Under normal circumstances, an indefinite adjournment does not bother a petitioner, but in this case it assumed significance since Shaukat Siddiqui is due to retire on June 30.

“The petitioner seeks indulgence of this court for the early fixing of the titled petition in the interest of justice,” the application said, requesting that the case be fixed for June 7.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui was removed from the high judicial office on the SJC’s recommendation under Article 209 of the Constitution for “displaying a conduct unbecoming of a judge” when he delivered a speech at the District Bar Association, Rawalpindi, on July 21, 2018.

The former judge had accused certain officers of the Inter Services Intelligence of interfering in the judiciary’s affairs. He alleged that the accused “manipulate the formation” of benches in high courts.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2021

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