ISLAMABAD: A departmental inquiry into the 103 irregular appointments in the sessions courts of Islamabad has been finalised and the report submitted to the chief justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) for a final decision and taking action against officials responsible for making the inductions.

During the audit of the IHC from 2015 to 2020, the auditors found that an inquiry into the 103 irregular appointments had not been finalised despite a lapse of several years.

However, a meeting of the Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC) was informed that “a comprehensive inquiry has been completed and responsibility has been fixed. The inquiry report is lying with Islamabad High Court for final decision.”

Subsequently, the audit para stood pended till the final decision on the inquiry report.

The inquiry is related to appointment on 103 posts of readers, civil nazirs, accountants, record keepers and other clerical positions in the sessions court. The posts were advertised in the national press and after initial scrutiny of the credentials the 103 people appeared in a test in 2012.

A number of petitioners challenged the appointment process for serious loopholes in the process.

For example, a petitioner pointed out that 19 persons whose names were even not mentioned in the list of successful candidates were appointed.

They were not among 30,000 candidates who had applied for these posts.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah in September 2019 directed the court registrar to “inquire into the matter and submit a report on administrative side.”

Justice Minallah issued the direction while disposing of petitions filed against these appointments

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.

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.

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 stated: “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, May 16th, 2021

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