The Sindh High Court building. — File photo
KARACHI, June 17: The Sindh High Court on Monday issued show-cause notices to over 20 judges of the subordinate judiciary over their poor performance and alleged involvement of the judicial officers and their staff in corrupt practices.
Official sources told Dawn that an additional district and sessions judge was among those served with the show-cause notices. The rest of them were senior civil judges, civil judges/judicial magistrates, they added.
The sources said that the show-cause notices were issued to some of the judicial officers of the district courts following complaints of corruption against them and their staff, while others were served with show-cause notices for their three or more adverse performance evaluation reports (PERs). They said that the judicial officers were issued show-cause notices by an authorised officer — an SHC judge — designated by SHC Chief Justice Mushir Alam.
They said that the judicial officers were directed to submit their respective replies within seven days.
The sources said that the judicial officers whose replies to the show-cause notices were not found satisfactory would be given a hearing by the SHC before finalising any action against them.
While the move initiated by the SHC against the alleged corrupt judicial officers of the subordinate judiciary was being seen in the wake of the allegations levelled by the Sindh Bar Council, an official source said that the action was already in the pipeline and it merely coincided with the SBC utterances.
A meeting of the SBC held at Sukkur on Saturday under the chairmanship of its vice chairman Mohammad Aqil had expressed concern over widespread complaints about corruption in the lower judiciary and involvement of even judges in the menace.
Office-bearers and members of the SBC, the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) and the Karachi Bar Association (KBA), including Yaseen Khan Babar, Mehmood-ul-Hassan, Safdar Awan and Qurban Malano, besides senior lawyers attended the meeting.
The meeting noted that corruption in subordinate courts was rampant but the menace had made its way to high courts.
They urged the competent authorities to ensure that posting of judges in the Sindh High Court was made on merit and promotion was given only to honest judges with proven capabilities of dispensing justice in a transparent manner.
The SBC meeting had also observed that corrupt people were appointed and being promoted and this was the reason behind failure of efforts to check corruption in the judiciary.
The senior lawyers also demanded holding of an inquiry into promotions made in contravention of relevant constitutional provisions. Investigations into the complaints of irregularities and corruption in the judiciary should also be held, they added.On May 28, the SHC had promoted 27 civil judges/judicial magistrates as senior civil judges. Besides, 18 senior civil judges were promoted as additional district and sessions judges.