ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) administration did not extend any relief to the beleaguered senior special magistrate of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and advised him to seek protection from the authority’s own law.

IHC Member Inspection Team (MIT) in response to the formal complaint of CDA’s senior special magistrate Sardar Mohammad Asif, against the hierarchy of the civic agency, advised him to seek protection as provided in the law.

CDA’s magistrate accused senior authorities of the civic agency and the Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI) of forcing him to “extort” money and that his court was being treated as “an automated teller machine (ATM)”.

In his complaint to IHC magistrate Khan, he stated that his “court is being influenced and interfered unwarrantedly to hoodwink in the due process of law which is repugnant to the principle of natural justice,” he stated in the application, adding that the CDA’s hierarchy was using his office to “mint money”.

“The trial court is being considered an ATM machine, which is causing an unnecessary litigation burden on the district judiciary,” he stated in the complaint.

He requested the IHC to protect his office “from undue influence, interference in the larger interest of justice, claiming that he had been acting as a “whistle blower”.

He further said that the CDA might be restrained from taking any adverse action against him.

The IHC administration perused his complaint and referred this matter to Senior Puisne Judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.

Responding to the complaint, the MIT of the IHC, through a letter, stated that the court of the senior special magistrate is an independent judicial forum and its judgement is appealable in the court of sessions/before the competent forum.

It further said that “the court of senior special magistrate CDA needs no protection or interference of this court [IHC] or any forum as the same has already been protected by law.”

Subsequently, the IHC administration did not even seek any reply from the CDA authorities and filed the application to the record.

It may be mentioned here that a petition has also challenged the powers of the CDA’s judicial magistrate through a petition, pending before the IHC.

It stated that Article 175 of the Constitution provides that the judiciary shall be progressively separated from the executive initially within a period of three years which was subsequently extended from time to time.

The petition said that the chief commissioner on Aug 11, 2020 issued a notification regarding entrustment of powers of the executive magistrate to the senior special magistrate of CDA and empowered him to assume jurisdiction in matters related to the CDA Ordinance, Municipal Administration Ordinance 1960, West Pakistan Pure Food Ordinance 1960, sections 268, 269, 270 and 273 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) 1960 relating to offences affecting public health, convenience, decency and morals, Islamabad (Preservation of Landscape) Ordinance 1956, regulations issued by the CDA under section 51 of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Ordinance 1960, Civil Defence Act, Forest Act 1927, Islamabad Wildlife Protection Preservation, Conservation and Management Ordinance 1979.

According to the petition, the magistrate is “purportedly in exercise of powers wrongly conferred upon him under the impugned notification.”

Such conferment could only be made by the provincial government on the recommendations of the high court, it stated, adding that the notification provides for conferment of powers upon the officer under section 6 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1898 for which the approval of the high court was a prerequisite.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2022

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