President Arif Alvi on Thursday issued orders to remove Justice Shaukat Siddiqui from the Islamabad High Court on the recommendations on the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
Justice Siddiqui has been termed guilty of misconduct under Article 209 (6) of the Constitution. This article gives the onus to the President to approve the recommendation of the SJC to remove a judge thought to be guilty of misconduct.
In his speech at a meeting of the Rawalpindi District Bar Association, Justice Siddiqui had accused the ISI of manipulating judicial proceedings particularly the Panamagate case.
The SJC has found him guilty of violating clauses 2,3,5 and 9 of the Judges Code of Conduct through his actions. The council has issued a show-cause notice to Justice Siddiqui and has requested him to submit a reply to explain his allegations.
The judge has defended himself saying that the charges against him are taken up on a ‘baseless reference’. He further said no effort was made to ascertain the veracity of the allegations in his speech. He has claimed that he discussed the issue at his residence about the manipulation of judicial proceedings. He has also said he will prove the real reasons for which the SJC headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan has deposed a high court judge for the first time in five decades.
Meanwhile, IHC’s Chief Justice Anwar Kasi has denied Justice Siddiqui’s allegations suggesting that an ISI official had approached IHC’s top judge and asked him not to let former PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter out of prison before the general elections.
This is the first time since 1970 that a high court judge has been removed on the behest of the SJC. In the past, most judges have opted for resignation to avoid an SJC inquiry, however, Justice Siddiqui opted to face charges of misconduct and the three cases registered against him.