Pakistan

ISLAMABAD- Justice Shaukat Aziz of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has been issued a show cause notice by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for making “unwarranted comments about some important constitutional institutions” while passing an interim order in the Faizabad sit-in case.

According to the issued notice, Justice Shaukat Aziz “knowing and purposely while adjudicating upon Writ Petition No. 3914 of 2017 made unnecessary and unwarranted comments about some important constitutional institutions.”

Justice Shaukat Aziz is required to submit a response within 14 days, and the Council will proceed further on March 7, 2018, reported The News on Friday.

During the hearing of Faizabad dharna by Tehreek-e-Labbaik in November 2017, Justice Siddiqui raised concerns over the role of certain senior officers of the armed forces in negotiating to end the sit in. The show cause notice made a reference to these comments, “Such comments had prima facie traveled beyond the scope of lis under consideration and had seemingly tendency to undermine the respect otherwise due to such constitutional institutions.”

“Such comments also included observations which questioned the manner in which an administrative issue was resolved and also questioned participation of some officials in the resolution of such issue which apparently fell outside the judicial domain,” the notice said, “This act on your part amounts to misconduct as envisaged in provisions of Article II of the Code of Conduct prescribed by the Supreme Judicial Council.”

The notice was issued after complaints were filed by Kulsum Khaliq Advocate and Jamshed Dasti – an independently elected member of the National Assembly- and it notes, “After scrutinising the said information, the Council is of the opinion that you may have been guilty of misconduct…, and accordingly, the Council has decided to inquire into the matter and to issue the instant show cause notice.”

During the Faizabad sit-in – by Tehreek-e-Labbaik against the election bill amendment – resulted in deaths of approximately half a dozen citizens and had the business in the capital stranded for approximately three weeks. The political party has raised concerns after they started glorifying  Mumtaz Qadri, the members of the party were also found guilty of blasphemy during the sit-in.

This is second show cause notice being issued to Justice Siddiqui as he is already facing a reference before the SJC for alleged misconduct dating back more than 18 months. Justice Siddiqui has denied impropriety in the pending reference and has sought that it be heard in open court as an exception to the general rule requiring that proceedings against judges of the higher courts be held in-camera.

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.