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IHC sets aside last CJ’s order removing administrative officials

Updated January 24, 2019

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Additional registrar was removed, three others demoted for insubordination, leaking report to media in 2015. — File
Additional registrar was removed, three others demoted for insubordination, leaking report to media in 2015. — File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has set aside an administrative order issued by former chief justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi removing an additional registrar and demoting three senior officers.

Mr Kasi had on Aug 20, 2015, retired BS-20 additional registrar Ijaz Ahmed and demoted deputy registrar Sarfraz Ahmed, assistant accounts officer Mohammad Ashiq and assistant Mohammad Waseem Khan for insubordination and leaking an audit report to the press which stated that “not a single appointment [in the IHC] has been made on merit”.

The decision triggered lawsuits challenging 75 appointments made to within the IHC administration since January 2011.

Additional registrar was removed, three others demoted for insubordination, leaking report to media in 2015

In September 2016, Justice Amir Hani Muslim also ordered the immediate sacking of all officials illegally appointed in the high court except for those working in lower grades. Pursuant to the court order, the administration removed more than 44 officials, including Mr Kasi’s brother.

The aforementioned audit report had observed that the procedure of advertising vacancies and filling them through open competition, after tests and interviews, was “totally ignored in all the appointments”.

The administration’s charge sheet said Ijaz Ahmed “while posted as additional registrar (establishment) had opposed the appointments of certain officers/officials made by the Hon’ble former Chief Justice in this Hon’ble Court…..thus you challenged the authority of the Hon’ble Chief Justice and are guilty of insubordination.”

It also found the additional registrar at fault for living in a category-I government house in F-6/3.

“Despite the fact, and your knowledge, that the Hon’ble Chief Justice and the Hon’ble Judges have no accommodation and are living in rented houses, you have not handed over this house to them and thus you are guilty of misconduct,” it said.

Similarly, other charge sheets accused the suspended officials of “having deep-rooted relations with a certain group of media who is biggest opponent of this establishment, who with your connivance published false stories regarding the Islamabad High Court, and a group of journalists is visiting you frequently.”

They were also accused of not obeying the order to issue appreciation letters to the “human rights cell” and saying, in a dissenting note in derogatory language, that “issuance of appreciation letter would amount to showering blessings”.

These officers then filed review petitions before the chief justice which had not been taken up since 2015. They were recently heard and decided in favour of the officers.

According to a notification issued by IHC Registrar Nadeem Irshad Kayani: “The Hon’ble Chief Justice/Authority has been please to allow the Review Petitions of the following officers/officials of this court while setting aside the notifications dated August 20, 2015 and reinstate them against their respective positions with all back benefits.”

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2019