ISLAMABAD: Former judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui has filed a fresh application with the Supreme Court requesting it to resume the hearing of his appeal on Nov 15.

The last hearing of the petition was held on June 12 last year.

The former IHC judge had submitted the appeal against an opinion of the Supreme Judicial Commission (SJC), as well as an Oct 11, 2018, notification under which he was removed as a superior court judge for his speech at the District Bar Association, Rawalpindi, in July 2018.

Justice Siddiqui had made remarks against the alleged involvement of certain officers of the executive organ of the state, specifically the ISI, in the judiciary’s affairs in order to “manipulate the formation of benches of the high court”.

Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who was retired as a high court judge in June 2021,in a single-page application said: “The petitioner’s several legal, fundamental and constitutional rights are involved in the case.

“It is, therefore, most respectfully prayed that the constitutional petition may kindly be fixed for hearing on Nov 15 or any date in the week commencing from Nov 13.”

Similar applications for an early hearing of the case were moved by the petitioner in the past on a number of occasions.

In the fresh application, Justice Siddiqui stated that the matter was of public importance since the petition had raised important questions like the judiciary’s independence, the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.

In his original petition, the former judge had requested the apex court to determine or regulate the discretion available to the chief justices of all superior courts to constitute or dissolve benches and to assign cases or issue case rosters.

But the petitioner contended that the chief justice of a court can exercise discretion in these matters only after “meaningful consultations” with the four most senior judges of the court concerned and in accordance with certain “settled and defined criteria”.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2023

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