ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) served another show-cause notice on Wednesday to Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.
Sources said the notice has been issued over the high court justice’s speech at the district bar of Rawalpindi last month.
In the notice, Justice Siddiqui has been directed to reply by August 28.
On July 21, Justice Siddiqui had stirred controversy when he alleged meddling in the judiciary’s affairs by the ‘powerful quarters’ and blamed the higher judiciary for the country’s ‘deplorable’ state of affairs.
Commenting on the matter the next day while hearing a case, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar had observed, “I read about the remarks of a judge in Islamabad and was deeply saddened”.
The chief justice reassured that the judiciary is completely independent and not working under anyone’s pressure.
Adding to the matter, the army, in a press release issued the same day, stated: “An honourable judge of Islamabad High Court of Pakistan has leveled serious allegations against state institutions including honourable judiciary and the premier state intelligence agency.
In order to safeguard the sanctity and credibility of the state institutions, Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan has been requested to initiate appropriate process to ascertain the veracity of the allegations and take actions accordingly”.
The apex court then took a suo motu notice of the matter following which Justice Siddiqui asked the chief justice to constitute a judicial commission to probe his allegations and offered to resign if he’s proven wrong.
Siddiqui is also faced with a show-cause notice by the SJC for making “unwarranted comments about some important constitutional institutions” while passing an interim order in the Faizabad sit-in case last year.
Another reference, the first public hearing of which was held by the SJC on Tuesday, pertain to the high court justice’s alleged misuse of funds for the refurbishment of his official residence.
The SJC is the only constitutional authority mandated by Article 209 of the Constitution of Pakistan to conduct inquiries into allegations of incapacity or misconduct against a judge of the Supreme Court or of a high court.
The council consists of the chief justice of Pakistan, the two next senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, and the two most senior chief justices of high courts.—INP