Justice (retd) Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui. — Islamabad High Court/Website
Justice (retd) Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui. — Islamabad High Court/Website

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday declared the removal of former Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui “illegal”, directing that he may now be considered as a retired judge.

The decision was announced by a five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Of Pakistan Qazi Fazi Isa in a 23-page judgment. Apart from the CJP the bench comprised Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi and Justice Irfan Saadat Khan.

The verdict noted that SJC proceeded against Justice Siddiqui on the “assumption that the truth or falseness of the allegations levelled” by the former judge was “irrelevant”. It also noted that the SJC also opined that Justice Siddiqui had failed to substantiate, independently corroborate, substantiate or prove the allegations levelled by him.

The judgment did note that the allegations made by the former IHC judge against then Maj Gen Faiz Hameed and a few of his subordinates was “very serious”. 

“However, Justice Siddiqui was not given an opportunity to establish his allegations nor brought face to face with those he had accused. When we noted this lapse we issued notices to all those against whom he made allegations and provided them with an opportunity to admit/deny them. All of them have denied their stated involvement. Therefore, it was all the more necessary for the SJC to have inquired into the matter and to have determined who was telling the truth. The SJC did not give any credence to Justice Siddiqui’s own words and to the contents of his replies; the SJC assumed that they were false; and having made this assumption concluded that Justice Siddiqui was guilty of misconduct. It would be difficult to categorise such a determination as fair or one which accorded with the requirements of due process. Justice Siddiqui was not given an opportunity to establish the veracity of his allegations, which was incumbent on the SJC when the same formed the basis of Justice Siddiqui’s removal from office,” states the judgment.

The bench noted that Article 10A guarantees a right to a fair trial and due process including on judges which the Supreme Court stated that Justice Siddiqui was “deprived of”.

“The Constitution guarantees that a Judge’s tenure is secure because it makes for an independent Judiciary while enabling a Judge to be removed from office if he commits misconduct, after providing him a fair trial and due process, as mandated by Article 10A of the Constitution. However, Justice Siddiqui was not provided with an opportunity to establish the truth of the allegations he levelled, but was punished for levelling them,” said the verdict. 

More to follow…

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