Bar members threaten to lock court rooms if ‘corrupt elements not removed’
All is not well with IHC affairs?
ZUBAIR QURESHI ISLAMABAD—The Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) on Saturday warned of locking of the court rooms and suspending the courts proceedings if corrupt elements in the judiciary are not eliminated. In a press conference, the representatives of the IHCBA and the district bar association of Islamabad claimed that the 2.2 million people of the federal capital and their properties worth trillion of rupees are at the mercy of a judicial system which is “overlooking the corrupt practices”.
Citing several resolutions passed by the district bar association of Islamabad, IHCBA and the Islamabad Bar Council (IBC) against the corrupt officials within the judiciary, Mohammad Waqas Malik general secretary IHCBA warned that the lawyers would lock the court rooms and the judicial business would remain at standstill till the elimination of corrupt officials.
Mr Malik also called upon the Supreme Court to announce verdict on petition which challenged induction in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that too without adhering to the prescribed rules and the procedure laid down by the apex court.
He said that the Chief Justice of Pakistan in September last year had assured that the judges of subordinate judiciary of provinces would be replaced under a rotation policy, adding that the IHC administration is yet to finalize the said policy. Malik criticized scrapping of Rs38 million Data Center Project of the IHC saying that it would have been more appropriate had the fate of the project would be decided by the administration committee of the IHC which comprises of the Chief Justice and two senior judges of the court.
He expressed reservations over the re-composition of the meeting of the administration committee at a time when it was discussing a 10-point agenda which included the matters related to the re-employment of IHC registrar Atiqur Rehman after retirement, cases of deputionists and policy regarding disposing of the official vehicles in the IHC pool. Malik pointed out that under the Islamabad Judicial Service Rules 2011, the administration committee comprised of three members included the Chief Justice and two senior most judges adding that the IHC registrar office on June 20, 2016 at a time when senior pusine judge Justice Noorul Haq N. Qureshi and senior judge Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the administration committee were in meeting changed its composition by adding two more judges into the said committee.
Former vice chairman of Punjab Bar Council Mohammad Arif Chaudhry said the Supreme Court in its judgment of 1996 in Abdul Jabbar Memon case as well as in subsequent decisions had made it mandatory to fill the vacant position in the government departments after properly advertising them in the press. Citing an internal audit report of the IHC of the year 2013, Chaudhry said that the said report claimed that not a single merit based appointment was made in the IHC since 2011 when the court was established. He further said that the other government departments are now trying to legitimize the ‘arbitrary’ appointments while referring to the way the induction has been made in the IHC.
Senior lawyer Rana Abid Nazir welcomed the newly appointed Chief Justice of Lahore High Court (LHC) who not only removed a number of judicial officers (including the registrar of the LHC) but also removed two judges from the administration committee against whom the references were pending in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). He however claimed that in the federal capital the situation was vice versa.