Judicial allowance, vehicles for lower judiciary PHC issues contempt notices to secretaries
PESHAWAR, Aug 15: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday issued contempt of court notices to provincial finance and law secretaries for not implementing court orders about payment of special judicial allowance and provision of vehicles to judges of subordinate judiciary in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Roohul Amin Khan directed the two secretaries to appear in person and show cause why they should not be proceeded against under the contempt of court law.
The petition has been filed by additional district and sessions judge Amjid Zia Siddiqui, stating that the high court had issued an order on July 6, 2010, directing the provincial government to pay special judicial allowance on the basis of one initial basic pay plus 50 per cent of running basic pay to all judicial officers and ministerial establishment of the high court.
The petitioner claimed that last year the government had frozen the allowance though the court had ordered that 50 per cent of the allowance would be on basis of running basic pay. When the bench took up the case it inquired from Additional Advocate General Naveed Akhter about progress in the case. He replied that a comprehensive reply had been submitted on behalf of the finance secretary. The bench inquired why the finance secretary had not appeared in person as he was personally charged in this contempt of court petition.
Advocate Ziauddin Siddiqui appeared for the petitioner and argued that prior to the institution of this petition the petitioner had repeatedly asked the provincial finance secretary and law secretary to review their decision by de-freezing the same, but they did not even give a reply.
The chief justice observed that the court orders were very clear and passed after the government had agreed to the said allowance. He questioned how the secretary could back out from the commitment they had already made before the court.
The bench expressed displeasure over non-provision of vehicles to the judicial officers, including district and sessions judges, senior civil judges, civil judges and presiding officers of anti-terrorism courts.
The chief justice observed that it was in their notice that summary in this regard was moved, but the provincial law secretary had been delaying the issue. He noted that the government had provided luxurious vehicles to executive magistrates whose
legality had still been in question.
He observed that in the light of famous Sharaf Faridi case decided by the Sindh High Court and then by the Supreme Court the assigning of judicial powers to executive officers was unconstitutional. The bench ordered that the law secretary should also appear in person.
The petitioner claimed that in 2009 the NJPMC had recommended that disparity in salary of judicial officers of all the four provinces be removed and salary of remaining provinces be brought at par with Punjab. However, he stated that the Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa government was reluctant to implement the decision following which some of the judicial officers filed a writ petition in the high court.
The high court had partially allowed the writ petition on July 6, 2010, and directed the provincial government to pay the special judicial allowance. The petitioner stated that in pursuance of the said directions the provincial government issued a
notification on July 27, 2010. He stated that on the basis of another notification issued on July 14, 2011, the secretary finance intentionally froze the allowance and converted the “running pay allowance” into “non-running.”