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Selection of judges: schedule puzzles candidates

September 09, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Sept 9: The vague schedule and lists for the interviews of vacant posts of 9 additional sessions judges (ASJ) and 20 civil judges puzzled the candidates.

A few of them are also going to challenge the induction process which subsequently would delay the appointments of judges in the subordinate judiciary of federal capital.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) administration in April this year decided to induct 29 ASJ and civil judges for subordinate judiciary through Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC).

The IHC authorities after knowing the lengthy procedure of FPSC started to recruit directly 29 judges for the interim period but abandoned the process involving National Testing Service (NTS) in the process, after some candidates went into litigation against the process of direct appointments.

According to the NTS results, 252 out of over 1000 candidates qualified for the 20 posts of civil judges of BPS-17 and 48 out of nearly 300 candidates passed their exam for the 9 posts of ASJ of BPS-20. Subsequently, IHC fixed September 10 for the interviews of all the successful candidates for ASJ from Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

The interviews for ASJ from Punjab will be conducted on the following day. The interviews for the 9 ASJ positions, however, did not include the candidates from Balochistan.

Likewise, the schedule for interviews of 252 candidates for 20 posts of civil judges did not include the KPK candidates.

According to the schedule, all the successful candidates for civil judges’ positions would appear for interview at Islamabad High Court , on September 12 and 13.

IHC administration, however, excluded 74 successful candidates for the posts of civil judges. The list issued by the IHC administration is also different from the merit list issued by the NTS. The candidates who were at the top at NTS merit lists were placed after serial number 50 in IHC lists.

For example, the names of Shakeel Ahmed, Kamran Shahzad and Malik Mohammad Imran were placed at number 1, 2 and 3 respectively in the NTS merit lists but Islamabad High Court administration placed them at 55, 56 and 57.

On the other hand, Rabia Batool Malik who secured 23rd position in NTS exam was placed at the top of IHC lists.

Mohammad Shahid the 2nd in the IHC list was at 24 in NTC list, Zara Tajwar 40 in NTS ranked at 3rd in IHC lists, Mohibur Rehman 47 at NTS lists was placed at number 4 and Sana Afzal who was at 51 at NTS placed at 5 in IHC lists.

Interestingly, those who were at the bottom in the NTS exam were treated in the same manner by IHC administration.

Rabia Sadaf Shah and Ayesha Sana are among those who were at the serial number 252, 251 and 250 of NTS and were placed at the bottom of serial numbers 178, 177 and 176 respectively in the IHC lists.

Qaiser Khan a lawyer and candidate from KPK said that the names of all successful candidates have not been included in the IHC lists, which is creating unrest among them.

He said the vague schedule also created uncertainty among the candidates as by issuing the schedule, the IHC administration eliminated candidates from Balochistan for ASJ and for civil judges from KPK. Advocate Waqas Malik one of the candidates for ASJ told Dawn that in addition to the vague lists, there were number of indiscretions in the induction process.

According to him, the IHC administration despite getting results from the NTS did not disclose the result for over three weeks.

He alleged that the marking of papers was also not done in a transparent manner and even some sitting civil judges of Punjab judicial service who wanted to join the Islamabad judiciary have been declared fail in the subject of criminal law. Some candidates including serving judges of LHC subordinate judiciary would challenge the induction process, he added.

Javed Akbar Shah, president of Islamabad bar when contacted said that things are not going smoothly at district courts.

He said the mismanagement at district courts has already been brought into the notice of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and IHC Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman. According to him, the IHC administration in order to ensure transparency in the judges’ recruitment involved the NTS in the process but transparency should be visible in the induction.

IHC spokesman, Mohammad Tariq Channa when contacted said that the IHC administration had maintained transparency in the induction of judges of sessions’ court.

He said the NTS an autonomous body was assigned to conduct exam of the candidates for 29 posts of ASJ and civil judges and one can access these results from the official websites of Islamabad High Court or NTS.