Non-confirmation of SHC judges: Notice issued to officials

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Sind 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 ministry of law and parliamentary affairs secretary and the 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 the parliamentary committee was filed by advocate Muneer A Malik and four others, another by Sind High Court Bar Association Sukkur through advocate Rasheed A Rizvi and the third by Anwar Mansoor Khan.
All of them cited ministry of law and parliamentary affairs secretary and the parliamentary committee in their petitions as respondents.
In these petitions, it was submitted that Justice Nadeem Akhtar and Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddqui were appointed as additional judges of SHC on 15th March, 2012, and took oath of their offices on March 20. The petitioners stated that throughout their tenure as additional judges, they worked honestly and competently.
They said on 7th February, 2013, a meeting of the parliamentary committee was held to consider recommendations for appointing three judges, Nisar Muhammad Shaikh, Nadeem Akhtar and Muhammaed Shafi Siddiqui of SHC on a permanent basis.
They submitted that following the meeting, the committee recommended only the name of Nisar Muhammad Shaikh as a permanent judge of SHC while the names of two judges were not recommended for confirmation.
They said the parliamentary committee, without issuing any show-cause notice and giving any plausible or proper reasons, dropped their names and disagreed with the recommendations of the judicial commission.
They stated that at the time of nomination of these two judges in March 2012, all material, including the tax returns, were examined by the parliamentary committee, whereof they agreed appointing these judges as additional judges of the SHC for one year.
They said the factual position is that income tax returns had been filed by the two judges which were on the record of the parliamentary committee also. They added that the allegation of the committee is uncalled for and tantamount to undermining the independence of judiciary.
They said at the time of nomination in March 2012, no such objections were raised by the parliamentary committee.
The petitioners said it has been reported falsely in print and electronic media that the two judges are tax defaulters.
They prayed the court to declare the committee’s decision as void and without any legal effect. They pleaded the court to declare the two judges as permanent judges of the SHC.
The hearing of the case was adjourned till February 19.