IHC sends back judges appointed wrongly
ISLAMABAD, Nov 7: A bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday ordered that all session courts judges who had been appointed to the lower judiciary in Islamabad in violation of the standard quota be sent back to their parent judicial services.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui passed the order while disposing identical petitions filed by the IHC Bar president Syed Nayyab Hassan Gardezi, Islamabad District Bar president Javed Akbar Shah and Advocate Mohammad Waqas Malik.
The petitions cited 18 judges of the subordinate judiciary and IHC registrar Niaz Mohammad Khan as respondents.
According to the Islamabad Judicial Service Rules 2011, there should be 101 judges in the subordinate judiciary: 15 district and sessions judges, 30 additional district and sessions judges, six senior civil judges and 50 civil judges.Fifty per cent of these appointments are to be from Islamabad, 12 per cent from each of the four provinces and two per cent from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
The petitions said that the IHC administration did not follow the Judicial Services Rules 2011 with the inductions: “In the first phase of the appointments, 50 per cent quota of Islamabad was completely neglected and in the second round of appointments it was again reduced below 50 per cent.”
“The appointments of judicial officers in Islamabad were made in violation of the quota reserved for the provinces as well as for Islamabad,” it added.
Meanwhile, IHC spokesman S.M. Tariq Channa told Dawn that so far half of the sanctioned posts in the lower judiciary had been filled.
“There are 14 judicial officers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), five judicial officers each from Sindh and Balochistan, three from Punjab, two from Fata and 17 from Islamabad Capital Territory working in the lower courts,” he elaborated.
A senior IHC official admitted that the court order would most likely affect judicial officers from KPK as they have exceeded the 12 per cent quota.
He said that there are 14 judicial officers from KPK who have been appointed in the Islamabad judiciary since February this year, including three district and sessions judges: Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi (sessions judge east), Mahmood Bashir (accountability judge Islamabad) and Niaz Mohammad Khan (IHC registrar).
He added the order would also have implications on similar appointments of senior IHC officials and other staff made in violation of IHC service rules.
On the other hand, Mr Channa insisted that the repatriation of judges would be pursued only after examining the detailed judgment: “The court has passed a short order and IHC registrar Niaz Mohammad Khan would initiate the process for the repatriation of judicial offices who are in excess of the prescribed quota after receiving the detailed judgment.”
Whereas in his reply submitted to the court, district and sessions judge of Islamabad Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan took a completely different stance and informed the court that the administrative order of the high court could not be revisited on these petitions.
The reply said: “There is no express provision in the IHC Act, or in Islamabad Judicial Service Rules where an administrative order regarding employment, induction or absorption can be revisited at a subsequent stage and that too at the instance of a stranger, whose only intentions is to malign the judicial officers.”
The reply explained that petitioner Waqas Malik was “disqualified” by the National Testing Service in the competition for the vacant posts of judicial officers, therefore, he could not challenge the induction or absorption of the other judges.It said the post of district and sessions judge of BPS-21 under rule 7 of Islamabad Judicial Service could not be filled through direct recruitment from practicing lawyers but could only be filled from the serving district and sessions judges of other provincial services.
“The IHC administration had circulated a request to the provincial high courts for borrowing the services of the judicial officers for Islamabad Capital Territory and the provincial high courts then circulated the request among the judicial officer and finally after following a certain procedure the judicial officers of other provinces joined the Islamabad Judicial Service,” the reply added.