ISLAMABAD - Islamabad High Court Judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui was apparently quite frustrated when he lost his temperament and approached the rostrum to directly address the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) which was hearing an alleged misconduct reference against him in a jam-packed courtroom No 1 of the Supreme Court on Monday.
Justice Siddiqui, 59, wearing a black suit having a Pakistani flag on his chest was earlier sitting in the first row which is usually occupied by senior counsels of the apex court while he was also counting beads.
He was changing his position repeatedly on a chair and taking short sips of bottled water after short intervals, which showed his irritation. Finally, he reacted, when the SJC ignored his counsel Hamid Khan’s request to provide some specific record related to the reference for the preparation of cross-examination, but the council in response stressed to move forward without deciding the fate of application in this regard.
“I have been left handicapped by the SJC as I need the said official record to prepare questions for cross-examination,” Justice Siddiqui screamed. However, he was not allowed to speak directly by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar who was heading the SJC.
The courtroom was fully crowded with the lawyers who had either come to show solidarity with the judge or to witness the first-ever public proceedings of the SJC while a large number of media persons, especially high court beat reporters, were also present. As the SJC adjourned its proceedings, lawyers present in the courtroom surrounded Justice Siddiqui and shook hands with him, who also warmly responded to them. While moving outside the courtroom, he also met with reporters. It was surprising that he was calling most of them with their names, but he categorically declined to comment on proceedings, sighting his legal and moral limitations.
Some of the lawyers who had turned up from the twin cities in a large number some of the lawyers who had turned up from the twin cities in a large number wanted him to go to the barroom, but he stayed at the entrance of the Supreme Court for a few minutes and later left the court premises in his official vehicle (GX-5).
Justice Siddiqui has been facing an alleged misconduct reference before the SJC since 2015 while he also fought a long legal battle to hold the public proceedings of his case. He is known for his blunt remarks against ‘institutions’ exceeding powers’ during proceedings while he also made headlines recently after he delivered a controversial speech in the Rawalpindi District Bar Association, accusing a premier spy agency of meddling in the judiciary’s affairs.
Justice Siddiqui is an old and local inhabitant of the garrison city. He also received his early education from Rawalpindi. He did his MBA and LLB from the University of Punjab while he remained an active member of the bar throughout his carrier as an advocate and got elected as a bar representative several times. He also contested for the membership of the National Assembly from Rawalpindi in 2002, but did not succeed.
A few days are left in announcement of the decision of the reference as the chief justice has said that the SJC would conclude the reference in the next three days.