You might have read the news of a senior High Court Judge who resigned on Tuesday following an inquiry against him.
Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan, a senior judge of Lahore High Court, resigned as the inquiry against him in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) was nearly completed.
Justice Farrukh was appointed as Lahore High Court Judge in February 2010 and was among the senior judges of the top provincial court.
The SJC was conducting an inquiry against him ever since his name appeared in the Panama papers and was also accused of running a business despite holding the charge as a high court judge – something which is strictly prohibited.
The SJC, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, had summoned Justice Farrukh on Tuesday to record his statement regarding his sources of income, etc., but the LHC arbiter opted to resign instead of facing the council’s full bench.
Not The First
This is not the first incident of its kind; instead, there’s a complete list of judges who were either dismissed or submitted their resignation following a judicial inquiry.
Just six months back, Islamabad High Court Judge, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui was shown the door by President Dr. Arif Alvi on the recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Council.
The action against Justice (retd) Shaukat Aziz started after his remarks about alleged interference by the country’s premier spy agency in the judicial proceedings. He was also facing corruption charges.
Before this, another LHC judge Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sidhu resigned on February 2017 as he was facing corruption charges and was due to meet the Judicial Council.
Many people would have known about these references as they occurred in the recent past, but only a few have an idea about the history of judicial references as they occurred.
Where it Started
The very first reference in the judicial history of the country was filed against Justice Hasan Ali Agha in the Federal Court of Pakistan during 1951 – he faced the proceedings and was later exonerated of all charges.
The second reference was filed against Justice Akhlaque Hussain, the third was against Justice Shaukat Ali, the fourth one was filed against Justice Safdar Ali Shah, and the fifth was filed against Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Data shows that all these references were filed during the Martial Law regimes other than the one against Justice Hasan Ali Agha.
Justice Akhlaque faced a reference during Ayub Khan’s regime; the reference on Justice Shaikh Shaukat Ali was made out in Gen Yahya Khan’s government. Justice Safdar Ali Shah was held guilty in 1978 during Gen Zia’s regime, and Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was proceeded against by Gen Pervez Musharraf.
Justice Akhlaque, Justice Safdar Ali Shah and Justice Shaikh Shaukat Ali were dismissed and sent home unceremoniously.
Accusations on Former Chief Justice
A reference was also made against the former Chief Justice, Justice Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudhary on the grounds of ‘misconduct’ and ‘misuse of authority’ and was sent to Supreme Judicial Council for a decision.
This led to civil disorder and a famous Lawyers’ Movement which resulted in Iftikhar Chaudhry’s restoration as Chief Justice on July 20, 2007.