ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Judicial Council denied the request of Justice Shaukat Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court regarding the provision of statistics about the expenses incurred on the renovation of houses of judges of the superior courts as it started his open trail.
During the hearing of the reference on Monday, the top judge Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that the matter would be winded up in a matter of three days, adding that he was in no haste.
Hamid Khan, a prominent lawyer represented the IHC judge and sought the record regarding the total expenditure incurred during the last seven years on the maintenance of each official accommodation of the judges of the Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court, and all the high courts, however, the attorney general objected to the request.
To this, the top judge replied that he should clarify the position of his client in the light of allegations, remarking that there was no objective behind seeking the record. He continued that the complainant had not mentioned any single judge in his application, otherwise the record could have been provided.
Upon this, Hamid Khan replied that the motive behind seeking the record was to compare the expenses incurred on the renovation of Justice Siddiqui’s residence with those of other judges.
‘The scope of the investigation is not that wide,’ remarked the chief justice and added that the permissible limit for the renovation of houses would be fixed by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC).
Justice Siddiqui’s counsel pleaded that one of their applications was against the ones who had filed the reference against the honorable judge to inquire their criminal record.
When Justice Siddiqui tried to whisper something into the ears of his counsel, the top judge interrupted Hamid Khan and told him that his client should not issue instructions in this manner.
When the accused judge observed that at least the impression of him being accorded justice should be given, the top judge replied that they were not misusing their authority.
The Chief Justice also clarified that it was the prerogative of the Supreme Judicial Council to conduct the proceedings and not of Justice Siddiqui.
The top judge also referred to Hamid Khan and advised him to instruct his client, not to address the court directly and convey his message through the counsel.
Defending Justice Siddiqui, Hamid Khan pleaded that the allegations on his client were baseless as the refurbishing of the official residence did not tantamount to any offence.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked during the hearing that if pieces of evidence are not presented in defence, the proceedings would be winded up. He added that many of the judges are bailed out by the SJC and there was no discrimination at display.
‘Start the process of recording the evidence,’ the top judge ordered the attorney general.
Meanwhile, the counsel of Justice Siddiqui pleaded that he should be given some time for cross-examination following which the top judge replied that the statement of the witness should be recorded while the cross-examination process could be delayed.
‘We wish that if anyone is innocent, he should be acquitted,’ remarked the chief justice.
Justice Siddiqui, while seated at his seat, pleaded that he was not in haste but wished that he should be served justice following which the top judge once again disliked the gesture and instructed the accused judge to stand up for making his point.
The directives were then followed by the outspoken judge of the Islamabad High Court.
During the hearing, Ali Anwar Gopang, who had filed the complaint against the judge also appeared before the court, whose statement was made part of the judicial record.
The case was adjourned till Tuesday.