SC To Take Up Two AJK Judges’ Case Tomorrow

23 May 2009
The Dawn

Islamabad: The Supreme Court will commence proceedings from Monday on two identical petitions one moved by the senior most judge of the Supreme Court of Azad Kashmir and the second by acting chief justice of the AJK High Court. A three-member bench comprising Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan, Justice Mohammad Akhtar Shabbir and Justice Syed Zawwar Hussain Jaffery will take up the petition of the senior most judge of the AJK Supreme Court Syed Manzoor Hussain Gillani challenging the appointment of the chief justice of the AJK apex court and acting Chief Justice AJK High Court Sardar Mohammad Nawaz Khan for his appointment on permanent basis. In his petition Justice Syed Manzoor Hussain Gillani of the AJK Supreme Court had sought a declaration against the appointment of what he called a junior chief justice of the AJK Supreme Court. The petition also requested the apex court to direct the Prime Minister of Pakistan to issue a fresh advice for his appointment as the chief justice of AJK Supreme Court with a direction to the AJK President to act upon the advice instantly. He has also sought a declaration that the government of Pakistan be directed to introduce one time suitable amendment in the AJK Interim Constitution Act deducting the period, during which he was deprived of his right to hold the office of AJK chief justice, from his age of superannuation. Both the governments of AJK and Pakistan should also be directed to adequately compensate the petitioner for the violation of his legitimate constitutional right and for mental torture he and his family had to undergo since October 2006, the petition said. The judges of the AJK Supreme Court and high court are appointed by the President of AJK on the binding advice of the Prime Minister of Pakistan designated as Chairman of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council. Justice Syed Manzoor Hussain Gillani was appointed as judge of the AJK high court on May 5, 1991, its chief justice on May 4, 2001 and as one of the three judges of the AJK Supreme Court in August 2004. The petitioner pleaded, the October 20, 2006 appointment of the incumbent AJK chief justice who was six years junior to him in the high court and two years in the AJK Supreme Court was done by ignoring seniority position of the petitioner as settled by the constitution, past conventions and the principles as laid down by the superior Courts of Pakistan. As a result of alleged illegal appointment of the incumbent chief justice, the petitioner went on long leave in protest. A number of representations were made by the petitioner to the Prime Minister of Pakistan but to no avail. After the induction of the new democratic government in Pakistan, a summary was submitted to the Prime Minister by the Secretary Kashmir affairs and Northern Division in charge AJK Council on June 25, 2008 for revoking the advice issued for appointment of junior judge and for a fresh advice for appointment of the petitioner, being the senior most judge but to no avail, the petitioner claimed. After having no other remedy to protect his rights the petitioner has now invoked the jurisdiction of this court being the ultimate arbiter of justice, he contended.