LAHORE: A former employee of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has filed a complaint before the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against the chief justice and the promotion committee for making allegedly illegal appointments and the promotions in the LHC establishment.
Akmal Khan, the complainant, submits that new promotion criteria was issued by concealment of facts from the authority on Aug 25, 2023, to legalise all illegal and irregular appointments and promotions in the high court establishment without approval of new rules under the Article 208 of the Constitution.
He states that meeting of the administration committee and rules committee followed by a full court meeting is the required procedure for passing the rules.
He says on May 14, 2013, a new rules draft for the post of additional registrar was introduced but the same was not approved by the full court and sent to the Punjab governor for its approval.
The complainant contends that the rules draft has been kept dormant by the then chief justice on March 8, 2019 as many judges raised objections, amendments, suggestions, additions in the proposed draft.
He says the present regime in the LHC has convened two full court meetings during the last two years but the proposed draft of “High Court Appointment Conditions of Service Rules, 2019” has not been included in the agenda meetings to deprive the officers of establishment of their legitimate rights.
He argues that the recommendations made by the promotions committee for appointments, promotions and up-gradations are illegal and void ab-initio as the same are without the approval of new proposed rules draft.
He asks the SJC to set aside the impugned promotions/appointments illegal.
Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and members of the promotions committee including Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry and Justice Sadiq Mahmood Khurram have been made respondents in the complaint in addition to the registrar and other officials.
The LHC had last year imposed a major penalty on complainant Akmal Khan, senior court associate (BS-19), who was often dubbed as a whistle-blower, and removed him from service mainly on charges of disobedience and anti-institutional campaign.
An inquiry under the ‘disobedience’ charge was initiated against Khan after he filed a writ petition in 2017 against out-of-turn promotions in the establishment of the LHC, which is still pending with the court.
Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2023