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Appointment of lower court judges challenged

July 10, 2012

ISLAMABAD, July 10: A petition challenging the appointments of all 18 judges of the capital’s subordinate judiciary, including two district and session judges of “east and west” session’s divisions,   was filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday.The petitioner, senior lawyer Mohammad Waqas Malik, challenged the process of appointment and the absorption of the district and Sessions judge “east” Judge Syed Kauser Abbas Zaidi, “west” Judge Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan, and five others.

Besides, the appointments of 11 senior civil judges, “east” and “west” senior civil judges of both Sessions Divisions were also challenged.

In addition to judges of lower courts, the petitioner cited IHC registrar as a respondent.

The IHC registrar office raised an objection to the petition, claiming that the registrar could not be made a respondent, and did not fix it for the hearing on Wednesday.

The petitioner had filed an identical petition with roughly 150 lawyers, but withdrew it after the court pointed out some technical issues. He said that the lawyers would gather at the IHC on Wednesday to make a collective effort to get the petition admitted.

The petition stated that the IHC administration, under the IHC Judicial Services Rules (JSR), must ensure that 50 per cent of the judges appointed to the subordinate judiciary reside in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 48 per cent of the appointments should represent all four provinces, and the remaining two per cent must be from the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata).

It pointed out that the initial appointments in the subordinate judiciary failed to meet the quota, and that the appointment of judges in both of the Sessions Division of the ICT clearly indicates that the criteria prescribed in JSR 2011 was not met.In the first phase of the appointments, the 50 per cent quota of Islamabad was completely neglected and in the second round of appointments it was reduced, again, below 50 per cent, the petition said.

The petition added that new appointments continue to be announced as the imbalance of judges remains. At the same time, the subordinate judiciary sustains an imbalance in the allocation of the quota, as the number of judicial officers has not been adjusted.

According to the petition, the absorption of the learned respondents was an infringement of the JSR, as well as a violation of the official regulations and procedure.

As a result of the judicial officer appointments, a widespread chaos and confusion was generated amongst the lawyers of Islamabad Bar. The petition said that a rift was created, and the Islamabad Bar passed a resolution against certain judges of the subordinate judiciary last month.

The petitioner requested the IHC administration to revisit the absorptions of judges in the subordinate judiciary of Islamabad, and to reappoint the previous judges to their judicial services.

It is also requested that the IHC to revisit the permanent appointments of the judicial officers, and make appropriate changes to the rotation of judicial officers as soon as possible.