Non-confirmation of two judges: SHC issues notice to officials for filing comments

Karachi: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Saturday, clipping together as many as three identical petitions challenging the decision of a parliamentary committee for not confirming two judges of SHC, issued a notice to secretary, ministry of law and parliamentary affairs, and parliamentary committee to file comments.

Headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar, the division bench of SHC, also directed attorney general of Pakistan to file comments.

One petition against the decision of parliamentary committee was filed by advocate Muneer A Malik and four others, another petition by Sindh High Court Bar Association Sukkur through advocate Rasheed A Rizvi and third petition by by Advocate Anwar Mansoor Khan.

They all cited secretary, ministry of law and parliamentary affairs, and parliamentary committee in their petitions as respondents.

In these petitions, it was submitted that that Justice Nadeem Akhtar and Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddqui were appointed as additional judges of SHC on 15-3-12, who took oath of their offices on 20-3-12. The petitioners stated that throughout their tenure as additional judges, they worked honestly and competently.

They said that on 7 February 2013 meeting of the parliamentary committee was held to consider the recommendations for appointing three judges, Nisar Muhammad Shaikh, Nadeem Akhtar and Muhammaed Shafi Siddiqui of SHC on the permanent basis.

They submitted that on February 7, parliamentary committee recommended only name of Nisar Muhammad Shaikh as permanent judge of SHC, but the names of two judges were not recommended for confirmation.

They said that parliamentary committee without issuing any show-cause notice and giving any plausible or proper reasons, has dropped their names disagreeing with the recommendations of the judicial commission.

They stated that at the time of nomination of these two judge in March 2012, all the material, including the tax returns, were examined by the parliamentary committee, whereof they agreed for appointing these two judges as additional judges of the SHC for one year.

They said that factual position is that the income tax returns had been filed and were on the record of the parliamentary committee also, adding such observation of the committee is totally uncalled for and baseless and tantamount to undermining the independence of judiciary.

They said that at the time of nomination in March 2012 no such objections were raised by parliamentary committee. They said that the income tax returns of the two judges disclosed their income prior to the elevation.

They submitted that no reasons have been disclosed or given by the committee in respect of decisions for dropping the names of judges. They said that it has been reported falsely in print and electronic media that the two judges are tax defaulters.

They prayed to court to declare such decision to be completely without jurisdiction void-ab- initio, mala fide and of no legal effect and liable to be cancelled. They pleaded to court to declare two judges as permanent judges of the SHC. The hearing of the case was adjourned till February 19.

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