ISLAMABAD: Promotion of dozens of judges of Islamabad’s subordinate judiciary has been delayed at least for a month as the senior member of the Selection Committee proceeded abroad.

Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, the senior member of the Selection Committee that is considering the cases of additional district and sessions judges, senior civil judges and civil judges for onward promotion to the next grade, has gone abroad for about a month.

Sources said the committee could not consider cases of judges’ promotions until his return in November. The committee took up these cases on October 2, and the agenda of the day was the promotion of additional district and sessions judges (ADSJs), sources said, adding that two ADSJs namely Humayun Dilawar, who convicted former prime minister Imran Khan in the Toshakhana case, and Faizan Haider Gillani challenged the seniority list. Both the judges filed separate applications to claim their seniority, sources said.

Sources further said Mr Humayun contended that he joined the judicial service as a civil judge much earlier than a few officers who were placed higher on the seniority list.

Committee member goes abroad, to take up cases upon return in November

According to the sources, the committee dismissed these applications, saying that the judges whose seniority was challenged were promoted prior to the promotion of judge Dilawar.

Sources said that owing to the applications against the seniority list and then a full court meeting, in which the participation of all the judges was mandatory, the cases of promotions could not be decided.

It may be noted here that getting a promotion in the capital’s subordinate judiciary is an uphill task, as at least four judges have resigned in a couple of years seeing no career prospects.

Inamullah Khan, Muhammad Abbas Shah, and Ihtisham Alam Swati, the civil judges who were inducted into the judicial service in 2006 in BS-17, said after 17 years of service, they were still in the same grade.

Similarly, there are other civil judges who have completed over a decade in the judicial service but have not been promoted to the next grade. They include Mubashir Chishti, Omar Shabbir, Shoaib Akhtar, Malik Aman Shehzad Khan, Sohaib Bilal Ranjha, Sanam Bukhari, Ambreen Chaudhry, and Rafat Mehmood.

Previously, a handful of judicial officers were promoted, however, the judges have complained that they belonged to certain chambers of lawyers during the practice. In June, a lawyer Murtaza Qureshi, filed a reference with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against a judge of the IHC. Besides other allegations, he accused the IHC judge of favouritism in the promotion of judges of the subordinate judiciary of Islamabad.

The complainant said that while the judge was the president of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association, he allegedly struggled for the transfer of those judges who were working in the federal capital on deputation from provinces.

About two dozen judges of the Islamabad judiciary filed representations against their adverse performance evaluation reports before the IHC chief justice. A few of them have also challenged their supersession before the service tribunal.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq had constituted a two-member committee on the issue of promotions and finally formed the selection committee for promoting the judges.

Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2023

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