SC asks govt about delay in issuance of notification. SC may pass ‘appropriate order’ if govt doesn’t issue notification by today.
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has sought explanation from the principal secretaries of the president, prime minister, and Senate secretary regarding the issuance of notification for the confirmation and extension of the Islamabad High Court’s judges.
Sources revealed to Daily Times that SC Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain on Monday sent two different letters to the president and prime minister’s secretaries and the Senate secretary regarding confirmation and extension of two IHC judges – Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi – whose term is expiring today (Tuesday). According to the details, the SC registrar in his first letter asked about the elevation of incumbent IHC Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman to the Supreme Court. The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had on October 22 recommended to the Parliamentary Committee on Judges Appointment in this regard.
The parliamentary committee had on November 5 also endorsed the JCP’s recommendation about the elevation of incumbent IHC CJ to the Supreme Court. The SC Registrar has asked the secretaries concerned why a notification has not been issued in this regard despite the completion of all constitutional requirements that are mentioned in Article 175 of the constitution. In his second letter, Dr Faqir Hussain has sought explanation from the secretaries about confirmation of the services of Justice Shaukat Siddiqui as regular judge, and six months’ extension to Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi. He said that the legal process has been completed but the notification is not being issued about the two IHC judges, whose term expires today (Tuesday).
The sources said that if the government does not issue by Tuesday (today) the notification regarding the IHC judges, the Supreme Court may pass an appropriate order. It is worth mentioning that the petition challenging the extension of the chief of army staff, fixed for November 22, now hinges on issuance of notifications of the two judges hearing the case. Talking to Daily Times, IHC Bar Association President Nayyab Gardezi also asked the government to issue the notifications.
He said the IHC bar would also file a petition in the IHC for implementation of the orders of the JCP and the parliamentary committee regarding the confirmation and extension of the judges. Gardezi said that IHC had already been facing a shortage of judges and the delay in the issuance of notification would exacerbate the problem.
Earlier, President Asif Ali Zardari had rejected the summary of Justice Kasi and declared another judge of the IHC, Justice Riaz, capable of becoming the chief justice as he was the senior-most judge. The Law Ministry had sent a summary to the president that Justice Riaz was senior to Justice Kasi by age. In view of the Law Ministry’s finding, the president has declared Justice Riaz as senior and sent back the summary about the notification of Justice Kasi as the IHC chief justice.
Also on Monday, the Supreme Court accepted a petition regarding the confirmation and extension of the two IHC judges and fixed the case hearing for today. A four-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, will hear the petition filed by Advocate Nadeem through his counsel Akram Sheikh advocate. He filed the petition under Article 184 (3) of the constitution, making federation as respondent.