PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has summoned the federal law secretary today (Thursday) and directed him to produce the records of steps taken by him for the implementation of its order to notify the appointment of three judicial officers as its additional judges.

A bench consisting of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Abdul Shakoor also asked additional secretary of the ministry Owais Nauman Kundi and another official, Wajid Aziz Qureshi, to in form their secretary, Raja Naeem Akbar,about the order for his appearance before it.

The court had ordered the federal government on June 28 to implement its May 10, 2022, verdict on the matter by July 5.

It was hearing a contempt petition about the non-issuance of a notification for the appointment of three district and sessions judges as the high court’s additional judges.

Lawyer filed petition against non-appointment of additional judges despite court orders

The court during previous hearing had ordered that the secretary should produce either the judges’ notification or a stay order by the Supreme Court on the matter.

When the bench took up the petition of lawyer Naeem Ahmad Khattak, it was informed that the notification in question had so far not been issued.

Ali Azim Afridi was the lawyer for the petitioner, while deputy attorney general Taufeeq Qureshi appeared for the federal government along with the additional secretary and other officials of the law ministry.

The bench observed that it had issued a clear order on the matter, so the government should have produced the required notification instead of delaying it.

It also observed that if the federal government continued to defy the court’s order, the prime minister would be summoned to appear before it for response on the matter.

The high court had accepted on May 10 three petitions challenging the decision of the parliamentary committee of Jan 19 of not confirming the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) for the elevation of three district and sessions judges as the high court’s additional judges.

While setting aside the impugned decision of the parliamentary committee, the court had ordered the federal government through the federal law secretary to immediately implement the recommendations of the JCP of Jan 5, 2022, by notifying the appointment of district judges Fazal Subhan, Shahid Khan and Khurshid Iqbal as additional judges.

Ali Azim said that the earlier three pleas filed by the three judicial officers and the present petitioner had prayed the high court to declare the impugned decision of the parliamentary committee unconstitutional, illegal and without lawful authority.

He said that the high court bench had accepted those three petitions but the government didn’t implement its judgement with the respondents, including the federal law secretary, bent on disobeying the orders.

Mr Azim said that the non-implementation of the court’s orders was a disservice to those believing in constitutionality and rule of law, and amounted to thwarting administration of justice.

He requested the court to proceed against the respondents for committing its contempt by ignoring its orders.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2022

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