SC hears former judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s plea against removal

The Supreme Court (SC) reconvened on Thursday to resume the hearing of former Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s constitutional petition challenging his removal from office.

Chaired by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, the five-member bench overseeing the proceedings includes Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi, and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan.

The former judge had been ousted from his position through a notification issued by President Arif Alvi on October 11-10-2019, following the recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). The SJC had taken this action based on a speech Siddiqui delivered to the Rawalpindi Bar Association on July 21, 2018, where he held the higher judiciary responsible for the country’s ‘deplorable’ state of affairs.

In his defense, Siddiqui argued that his removal was an act of discrimination. He highlighted that while he was penalized for a public speech, the former SJC chairman, ex-CJP Saqib Nisar, freely engaged in similar activities, delivering speeches, addressing the Bar Council, participating in conventions, and meeting with members of the armed forces, including the Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Air Staff. Siddiqui further alleged that Nisar had openly declared the entire judiciary as incompetent.

Siddiqui maintained that his speech aimed to shed light on interference by certain elements in the administration of justice. The legal proceedings continue as the former judge seeks redress through the Supreme Court, challenging both the SJC report and the presidential order issued in 2019.

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