Bill seeking increase in IHC judges delayed


ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Thursday deferred the bill seeking an increase in the number of judges in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

In a meeting presided over by Chairman Riaz Fatyana, the body decided to postpone the issue until its next meeting on Jan 15 owing to the absence of Law Minister Farogh Naseem.

According to the draft of the bill, the existing sanctioned strength of judges of IHC is seven, including its chief justice. However, given the number of pending cases along with fresh cases increasing every day, the IHC had sought three more judges to overcome the difficulties of the litigant public for early disposal of pending cases.

The government officials, including law secretary, supported the bill, saying that the Ministry of Finance had also no objection to the bill.

A member of the committee, MNA Aliya Kamran, said that the number of judges in all courts of the country should be increased and two judges from each province should be appointed in the IHC.

MNA Muhammad Farooq Azam Malik also endorsed the idea that each province should be given equal representation in the appointment of judges in the IHC.

MNA Nafeesa Shah said that present strength of judges should be completed in the court as presently four, instead of seven judges, are serving there.

Law and Justice Parliamentary Secretary Maleeka Ali Bukhari said that strength of judges would be increased in IHC during first the phase.

MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique said that the number of judges is less in the IHC as well as other courts of the country. He said that required strength should be completed for disposal of the pending cases. He also asked to chalk out a formula for the appointment of judges in the IHC.

Law and Justice Secretary Abdul Shakoor Paracha said that parliament had to decide about increasing the number of judges in high courts and the Supreme Court.

He said that 60 judges were working in the Lahore High Court, while this bill sought an increase of only three judges in the IHC.

The committee deferred the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (Amendment in Article 5l and 106) while another bill – the Constitution (Amendmen0 Bill, 2018 (Amendment in Article 106 – was rejected.