ISLAMABAD, Sept 14: The National Accountability Bureau is reported to be considering to seek legal opinion from the Supreme Court whether or not the judiciary comes under the purview of the NAB Ordinance.

“The NAB may approach the Supreme Court to seek a clarification as to whether holders of public office include members of the judiciary or not,” said a NAB official.

The clarification will be sought specifically on the issue of two extensions given to the Supreme Court registrar when the apex court has restricted the government from any extension in the service to holders of public office.

NAB believes that under section 9 of the NAB Ordinance, it is empowered to take cognizance of any misuse of authority. The preamble of the ordinance states that all individuals come under the NAB Ordinance.

“Section 5 of the NAB Ordinance deals with definition and within these definitions one of the sub-section deals with the holder of public office,” he said. The ordinance, he said, listed all holders of public office, excluding serving military officials, because they came under the manual of Pakistan Military Law.

“In this sub-section, the judiciary has not been included. Therefore, it is not clear as to whether the judiciary comes under the NAB Ordinance,” the official said.

The judiciary has clarified a number of times in the past that it did not fall in the purview of NAB because like military forces, the judiciary has its own and internal accountability system under the Supreme Judicial Council.

Media reports said SC Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain had been given the second extension on March 24 this year. He retired in March 2010 but got an extension for two years.

According to an SC statement issued on Jan 30 last year, the re-employment of Dr Hussain is found in compliance with instructions contained in Rule 14(1) of the Civil Servants Act, 1973, and was in public as well as institutional interest.

Dr Hussain served as registrar with Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry from July 1, 2005, to March 9, 2007. He left the post on March 9, 2007 when a reference was filed against the CJ but he was re-appointed the registrar on July 20, 2007, when Iftikhar Chaudhry was reinstated.—Syed Irfan Raza

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