Saturday, July 23, 2011

Appointment of retired judges challenged in SC

A constitutional petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday, challenging the appointments of retired judges in the superior judiciary of Gilgit Baltistan.

The petitioner, Mazoor Hussain Parwana, Chairman, Gilgit-Baltistan National Movement, has prayed to the court to declare that the appointments of retired judges in the Gilgit Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court were illegal, unconstitutional and against the fundamental rights of the people.

He demanded the apex court to declare provisions of Article 60(5), (6) and (8) of Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009 as being against the fundamental rights of the citizens of Gilgit Baltistan and all norms of justice and principles laid down in law by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The petitioner filed the plea through Advocate Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry under Article 184(3) of the constitution, making the federation through the law and justice secretary, Gilgit Baltistan Council chairman, GB Legislative Council chairman, Ministry of Kashmir and GB Division secretary and Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly speaker as respondents.

The petitioner submitted that the judges of the Supreme Court could continue till the age of 65, adding that in Pakistan, no judge being older than 65 years should continue as judge or be appointed as judge of the Supreme Court. He noted that retired judges, being of an age greater than 65 years, had been appointed in the Gilgit Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court.

He contended that the judiciary in Gilgit-Baltistan was not independent as the services of the judges of Supreme Appellate Court were not secured under Article 60 of Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009, as the judges and chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court GB were being appointed for a period of three years while the retiring age of the chief judge and judges of GB Chief Court is 62 years.

The petitioner stated that the authority of appointment was with the prime minister of Pakistan and the Gilgit-Baltistan governor. He said that the consultation of Chief Justice of Pakistan with two senior judges should be part of Article 60.

He requested the court to declare Articles 5, 6, 8 and 60 of proposed law 2009 for Gilgit Baltistan as unconstitutional, as these articles were against the fundamental rights of the people, thus being against the norms of justice.

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