IHC orders probe into illegal inductions in lower judiciary

Updated September 21, 2019

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As per the court record, 19 of the hired officials were not among the 30,000 candidates who had applied for the posts in the sessions court. — Reuters/File
As per the court record, 19 of the hired officials were not among the 30,000 candidates who had applied for the posts in the sessions court. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered an inquiry into the appointment of ‘blue-eyed’ officials in its subordinate judiciary seven years ago.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued the direction to the IHC registrar Nadeem Irshad Kayani to “inquire into the matter and submit a report on administrative side.”

Justice Minallah issued the direction while disposing of identical petitions filed against the induction on 109 posts in the district and sessions courts of Islamabad in 2012.

After initial hearing in Feb 2012 the IHC had issued notices to the relevant respondents and adjourned hearing for a fortnight.

However, the case could not be taken up again until Sept 18, 2019, as the original file of the case had gone missing from the court record.

Issues direction while disposing of petitions filed against alleged illegal hiring in district and sessions courts of Islamabad in 2012

Recently, a petitioner reconstructed the file and handed it over to the IHC administration after which the case was fixed before the chief justice.

As per the court record, 19 of the hired officials were not among the 30,000 candidates who had applied for the posts in the sessions court and appeared in a test after being shortlisted.

Their names were also not found in the list of successful candidates issued on Feb 16, 2012, by the district and sessions judge east. Even then they were invited for interview on Feb 17.

Interestingly, Amir Mukhtiyar Awan, who was appointed as a reader in the sessions court, was facing a criminal case in the same court under various sections of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for committing fraud.

He was on bail and his case was being heard in the court of a civil judge. The charge-sheet of Margalla police submitted to the court confirmed that Awan and his accomplices were accused in a land fraud case and the next date of hearing of the case was March 19.

However, Awan after his induction in the sessions court got himself acquitted from the case.

He was appointed in the district and sessions court along with five senior clerks - Aqeel Khan, Asif Ahsan, Abdul Hakeem, Shahid Mehmood and Kashif Jalaluddin. Shabbir Hussain, Bilal Arshad, Majid Ali, Irfan, Saeed Qadir, Faheem, Noman, Osman, Umer Farooq, Babar, Najamus Saqib and Shafiq were inducted as junior clerks and Taimur Hussain as a naib nazir. The names of these officials were not in the list of the candidates who had passed the test. They were appointed directly without fulfilling the prescribed process for the vacancies.

The petitioners requested the court to set aside the appointment orders of the 109 officials and “the sessions court administration may be directed to re-advertise all the posts and finalise the appointments on merit.”

Justice Minallah observed that though the petition was not maintainable, “the assertions and allegations made in the memorandum of the petition are of serious nature” which as per the court order “cannot be ignored.”

Subsequently, the court ordered “the office is directed to transmit a copy of this petition to the registrar of this court. The latter shall inquire into the matter and submit a report on the administrative side.”

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019