SC orders govt to appoint judges for vacant courts

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 9:30:31 by

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the federal and provincial governments to appoint judges against all vacant seats in different courts “within seven days.”

The apex court said provincial chief justices should be consulted and judges appointed against vacant seats in banking, narcotics, FIA, accountability, excise, labour and environment courts.

It maintained in its written order that “we fail to understand how a matter can be dealt with expeditiously if judges are not appointed.” It observed that criminals were being released on bail due to delays in hearings amid an absence of judges.

The court asked provincial chief secretaries and registrars to appoint all the federal and provincial judges as early as possible. The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also asked the federation to consult the judiciary before it appoints the members and chairman of the Federal Services Tribunal.

The chief justice noted that since the tribunals deal with judicial functions, the government should take special heed to “appoint competent and qualified persons with judicial backgrounds.”

The written order observes that services tribunals get permanent legal assistance under the Constitution and thus efforts should be made to appoint the most suitable persons.

The court lamented that presently, except for a few, a majority of the persons in the tribunals have no judicial background and appointments have been made to oblige certain people. It said that the above mentioned observations should serve as guidelines for the government, which could issue an ordinance to accomplish the same.

Meanwhile, the court expressed its dissatisfaction over the government ignoring a written summary of the Sindh High Court’s chief justice and delaying the appointment of a judge in a banking court of Karachi.

Chief Justice Chaudhry claimed that the government has deliberately put the appointment on hold as a National Logistics Cell case is pending. He added that the mentioned banking court is lying vacant since May 22, 2011.

Expressing his astonishment over the banking court’s inefficacy in the commercial hub of the country, the chief justice asked the federation’s deputy attorney general: “Do you know these courts hear corruption cases?”

Deputy Attorney General Aleem Abbasi told the court that out of the 29 banking courts in the country, only three were not functional or lying vacant. The apex court asked Abbasi to give a break-up of how much money still had to be recovered, adding that the accused succeed in getting bails from other courts as these courts have no knowledge of banking-specific cases. The case has been adjourned till June 20.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2012.

Islamabad News Sources -2

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